Cartier is one of the most prolific jewelry companies with the “Love” series being their most sought after along with the Santos watch. The Love Bangle and watch are probably the most replicated and the guides below will show you not only how to authenticate, but what to look for when shopping online.
The below guide is from Raymond Lee Jewelers – In depth guide for authenticating Cartier Love Bangles with photos
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.
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.
You can also take a look at any accompanying Cartier box or bag for more clues, 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.
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.
When you’re shopping online for Cartier Love bangles, the stakes are even higher. You don’t have a chance to inspect the bangle in person before purchasing. And you can’t bring it to a Cartier Love bangle authority for their input (reminder, we cannot authenticate Love bangles anymore.)
The next best thing is doing your own digging online to look for telltale signs of a fake (like we hope this guide helps you do.) Or to even run a quick search for the serial number – one of our wonderful readers discovered her Love bracelet had the same serial as those in the stock photos on Cartier’s website. Again, we cannot authenticate Love bangles, but this is pretty much a dead giveaway that it’s a counterfeit. Every Cartier piece’s serial number is unique and one of a kind. No chance of a duplicate.
While it’s helpful to read articles (like the many you’ll find on our blog!) and guides on eBay, in addition to asking Cartier devotees in online luxury shopping forums, remember there’s no way to tell for certain that what you’re buying is authentic unless you’re buying from a reputable seller. We’re easier to spot than a fake Love bangle, promise! This is the handy acronym we use:
- Longevity: Decades of happy customers don’t lie.
- Open Communication: Do they call you back? Facebook you? Text you? Direct message you videos of rings on Instagram when you request?
- Verifiable: Do they have Yelp & eBay reviews? Will they show you proof of a diamond’s certification, a watch’s papers, or a designer piece’s original box?
- Easy Returns: Clearly stated, black and white, simple for you and protective of your money.
That last part – about returns – is the most crucial. This lets you, if you have any doubt, inspect the bracelet in person risk-free. Yes, you’ll likely pay shipping costs, but if you do that and discover something’s just a little “off” about your new purchase, it’s better to be out $20 than $6000, you know?
With your Love bangle in hand, you’ll need to have it authenticated in person. It’s getting more difficult to do this – we don’t do it anymore, we used to – because Cartier stopped the practice. Occasionally, you can catch a sales associate in a good mood and show them your purchase and receive a wink & a nod that you’ve got the real deal, but they don’t authenticate Love bangles anymore.
If you want assurance that your Love bangle is real before buying, based on photos alone, you’re out of luck. It’s impossible to authenticate a Love bangle based only on photos, even for a Cartier S.A. – that’s how good today’s “SuperFakes” are. It spoils the thrill of the chase for the bargain hunters in us all, but Cartier has no reason to encourage shoppers to pay less for coveted Love bracelets, so they don’t encourage the secondhand market.
As a business that enjoys buying and selling all Cartier jewelry – not just Love bangles – we clearly disagree! And while we cannot authenticate your Love bangle, either online or in person, we do stand behind our own Cartier inventory 100%.
We pride ourselves on selling only authentic designer estate jewelry, and if we have even the shadow of a doubt something is fake, we don’t buy it. Unless, of course, we want to make an example of it with a highly detailed blog post. But rest assured we aren’t paying the same price we do to our clientele selling authentic Cartier.
Raymond Lee Jewelers has a reputation as a trustworthy seller of pre-owned designer jewelry, and we’d never risk that with a suspicious piece. So when you’re buying from us, you get our buyers’ decades of expertise, often the original box and papers for your piece, and always our 30 day 100% money back guarantee. Because we LOVE our Cartier clientele.
Below are a few other great online guides for more information about how to authenticate Cartier
True Facet – Another Cartier Love bracelet authentication guide
Preowned Watch Buyers – Simple Cartier watch authentication guide
The Luxury Closet – How to authenticate a Cartier Santos watch
Ehow – A few great tips and tricks in authenticating a Cartier watch
Infogr – Detailed Cartier authentication guide