The Gray & Sons guide on how to spot a fake Cartier Love bracelet
Jewelry is an anomaly within the luxury goods industry because it is a segment where non-branded goods outsell branded ones. More consumers opt for non-branded pieces that are (literally) worth their weight in gold rather than those crafted by well-known jewelers that come with a higher price tag for the name.
However, there are a handful of designer jewelry brands that boast iconic pieces that almost everyone wants to get their hands on. One of those is the Cartier Love bracelet. Designed in 1969 by Aldo Cipullo for Cartier, the Love bracelet has enjoyed its status as one of the most recognizable and coveted pieces of designer jewelry in recent history.
Unisex in design, beloved by celebrities, tastemakers, and the fashion-forward, the Cartier Love is a must-have piece of jewelry for many. Plus, instead of just wearing one, there are those who love collecting different Cartier Love bangles so that they can wear a whole stack of them on one wrist for the ultimate style statement. And let us not forget that the Love bangle looks great worn with a luxury watch too. Cartier does make other jewelry styles within the Love collection, including rings, earrings, and necklaces, but it is the bracelets that are the most popular by far.
Unfortunately, that kind of popularity also comes with an undesirable side effect. The Cartier Love bracelet is also one of the most counterfeited jewelry pieces out there. While you will never run the risk of buying fake goods at Gray & Sons since we have a team of in-house experts that authenticate all of our jewelry and watches, it does not hurt to be able to identify a fake Cartier Love bracelet.
So with that in mind, read on for our four tips (plus a bonus tip) on how to spot a fake Cartier Love bracelet.
How to Spot a Fake Cartier Love Bracelet Tip #1: Do Your Homework
The simplest way to protect yourself from buying a fake Cartier Love bracelet is to do some preliminary research. Check out the official Cartier website for a little history on the collection. For instance, since the Cartier Love made its debut in 1969, anything dated before then is a forgery.
Also, look at official Cartier pictures to show you what a real Love bracelet should look like. Understand the design traits of the bracelet. For example, what are the different widths and styles available? How many decorative screws should there be? Love bracelet vs. Love cuff?
Also, check out all the Love bracelet pictures we have on the Gray & Sons website too since we have pictures of vintage and discontinued models in addition to current ones. There are differences in vintage and modern Cartier Love bracelets to consider. For instance, the Cartier logo on vintage Love bracelets is slightly different from ones on current versions.
How to Spot a Fake Cartier Love Bracelet Tip #2: Examine the Materials
As one of the most prestigious jewelry houses in the world, Cartier only uses top-notch materials in their products. Love bracelets are exclusively made in 18k yellow, white, or pink gold, as well as 950 platinum. Furthermore, all gemstones are of course real diamonds.
So if particular Cartier Love bracelet you are looking at is made in silver, steel or any other metal other than the ones listed above, then it is a fake. Also, if the gems are not diamonds, but another white stone or crystal, it is a counterfeit Cartier product. If the Cartier Love bracelet has diamonds on them, the gems should also be visible on the inside of the bracelet via hexagonal cutouts.
A Cartier Love bracelet should feel like a piece of precious metal in your palm. That is to say, there should be some heft to it. If it is too lightweight, then that could be an indication of cheaper material other than gold or platinum, therefore, a fake. Discoloration or chipped metal, particularly if another color peeks through underneath, are clues that the piece is not authentic.
The only exception to this materials rule is the Revson bracelet. In the 1970s, the founder of Revlon Cosmetics, Charles Revson produced a less expensive version of the Cartier Love bracelet. These gold plated pieces are marked with “1970 ALDO CIPULLO Gold Electroplate” and “Charles Revson, Inc”. But remember, these are not fine jewelry pieces, but rather, costume jewelry, thus, sell prices should reflect that.
How to Spot a Fake Cartier Love Bracelet Tip #3: Scrutinize the Finishing
Again, Cartier prides itself in making extraordinary luxury goods. Subsequently, the Maison is going to ensure that every piece that leaves their ateliers is perfect. This means each screw on the Love bracelet should be perfectly straight and spaced out. Any misaligned screws means that you have spotted a fake Cartier Love bracelet. The bangle should feel well-made and secure when worn. The two halves of the bangle should align perfectly when screwing them closed. The closure screw should turn easily with the accompanying screwdriver.
When possible, getting a full set with a pre-owned Cartier Love bracelet–with box, papers, and the mini screwdriver–increases the likelihood that it is genuine. What’s more, you can double-check that the serial number on the paperwork corresponds to the serial number stamped on the inside of the bracelet.
If anything seems “off” then it is better to walk away. A piece of Cartier jewelry should bring immediate joy, not doubt!
How to Spot a Fake Cartier Love Bracelet Tip #4: Investigate the Hallmarks
Jewelry hallmarks are very important to understand—they are the codes that give insight into your pieces such as material, ID numbers, and trademark.
On a Cartier Love bracelets, there are several hallmarks to take note of. Void of any damage or aging, all markings should be crisp and clear. Smudged logos, uneven inscriptions, or sloppy finishes are red flags that indicate the bracelet is a replica.
First, there is the obvious “Cartier” logo. Any Love bracelet should have the signature, and if it does not, then it is a fake. Second, there is the material hallmark. 750 means that 75% of the metal is composed of gold, such is the case of the 18k gold Love bracelet. Just to refresh, pure gold is 24k and 18 is 75% of 24–which explains the 750 number on 18k gold. On the other hand, 950 indicates 95% platinum, which is what Cartier uses in their platinum jewelry. Third, there is the two-digit bracelet size. These numbers refer to the diameter in inches and the options are 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20.
Finally, modern Cartier Love bracelets have a serial number. Remember this is not a style number, but a number that is unique to that particular piece only. So, there will never be a duplicate of this number. There are several different serial number formats including five digits + one letter, two letters + four digits, and three digits plus three digits.
It is important to note, however, that when Aldo Cipullo started making these in the seventies, the Love Bracelet did not come with serial numbers. So it is important to be extra vigilant when buying vintage Cartier Love jewelry pieces to avoid fake pieces.
Bonus Tip: Consider the Price
Genuine Cartier Love pieces are expensive, even in the secondary market. We are talking about one of the most recognizable pieces of fine jewelry from one of the most famous luxury brands in the world. So the prices of these goods should reflect that.
In the retail market. the small model Cartier Love bracelet without diamonds starts at $4,300 and the open Cartier Love cuff starts at $4,500. And since the resale value of this particular designer jewelry is so strong, prices in the pre-owned market are not much lower than that. So if you’re looking at a Love bracelet that’s selling for hundreds of dollars instead of thousands of dollars, then it is most likely a forgery.
There you have it, some simple tips on how to spot a fake Cartier Love bracelet. However, to make things even easier for you, shop from a retailer you trust, like Gray & Sons. It’s always important to “buy the seller” when shopping in the secondary market for luxury goods. We’ve done all the legwork for you to ensure that every jewelry piece that leaves our doors is guaranteed 100% authentic. So for peace of mind and unbeatable value, shop our collection of pre-owned Cartier jewelry.