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Cartier Love bangles are one of the most singularly iconic pieces of jewelry in history. They’re highly recognizable, highly covet-able, and highly symbolic. So it goes with luxury goods, this combination usually leads to knockoffs. We happened to catch one such knockoff at our showroom, and wanted to share with you so you won’t be fooled by fake Cartier. So, how do you tell if a Cartier love bracelet is real or fake?
First, we go back to the beginning of the Cartier Love bangle story. In the 1970’s, when Aldo Cipullo started creating these famed bracelets, they hadn’t yet become the icons they are today. They were popular and chic, but weren’t stamped with serial numbers. Counterfeiters seized this absence of i.d. as an opportunity to start churning out fakes at a rapid rate. In fact, it’s estimated that up to half of the Love bracelets from the 70’s are replicas.
Related: Top 5 Questions We Get About Cartier Love Bangles
For this reason, we won’t even buy vintage Cartier Love bangles unless they’ve been authenticated by Cartier itself – there’s simply no fool-proof way to tell a good fake from the real deal.
Of course, today, the Google query of “Cartier Love bracelets fake vs real?” is easily answered. Cartier’s modern Love bangles are stamped not only with serial numbers, but with the Cartier logo and copyright, the 18kt gold 750 stamp, and a hallmark. Most fake Cartier love bracelets will only imitate the stamps partially, and not very well at that. We’ll use this as our first example of how to spot a fake Cartier Love bracelet.
Note that the stamps aren’t identical (the fake mistakenly puts the smudged Cartier logo on both sides and uses an 18kt stamp instead of Cartier’s “750”) and the fake’s (on the right) are done sloppily and unevenly. The authentic Cartier love bracelet’s stamping is crisp, level and easily legible.
Another good clue is the color of the Love bangle. Cartier Love bracelets are made in yellow gold, white gold, rose gold and platinum. The options for customization with diamonds in combination with these metals are nearly endless. However, Cartier Love bracelet replicas likely will use sterling silver instead of platinum and white gold, and may use gold plate or fake gold to mimic the other gold colors. Any diamonds would likely be imitation as well. If the Love bangle in question has a brassy or chrome like quality to its color (or any tarnish around the stamps in the case of white metal), it's a fake.
If you take a look at the screw stamps, you’ll see the screws on the fake are all wrong. The indentation for the screwdriver is crooked on some, uneven in others, sometimes it slopes down to meet the outer perimeter of the screw stamps. Moreover, the clean lines of the authentic Cartier Love bracelet’s stamps all but disappear on the fake’s screw outlines. See how the outer shape of the screws is softer? And note that the metal outside of the screws has an almost puffy quality to it. The authentic Love bangle, on the left, is smooth and even with crisp screws stamped right into the gold with no compromise of the surrounding metal.
Also, you can see that the edges of the fake Cartier Love bangle are more rounded and smooth than the authentic’s.
You’ll also see this smooth, melded look on the screw clamps that close the bangle. The real Cartier Love bangle has screw caps with the same crisp stamping as the rest of its details. And about the screw – it should turn easily with the screwdriver. When we try to open the fake Cartier Love bangle, there’s practically no give. The genuine Cartier’s screw turns effortlessly to open the bracelet.
Related: Verifying a Cartier Love Bracelet
You can also take a look at any accompanying Cartier box or bag for more clues, and you can read more in-depth about how to tell if a Cartier box and bag are real here. But typically, your best indicator will be the price of the bracelet – even our preowned Cartier Love bracelets sell for over $4,000. So if you see a Love bracelet for sale or online for a few hundred dollars, it is 99.9% not real.
Related: Amazon and The Cartier Love Bracelet – Too Good to Be True?
The best way to spot a fake Cartier Love bangle is by looking for the lack of attention to detail imbued in every Cartier piece. Knockoff Cartier Love bangles are just like every other form of counterfeit goods – they just don’t compare to the original. When it comes to quality, longevity, and your overall happiness with your purchase, you are much better off saving for your dream Love bracelet, finding a jeweler you can trust, and cherishing this iconic piece for the rest of your life when it’s finally yours.