It didn’t start with a golden nail, but it was this creative piece of jewellery for Cartier that definitely secured him a top position in the goldsmiths’ guild: the Italian Aldo Cipullo.
Born in Naples in 1935 to a family of jewellers, Aldo Cipullo became the most glamorous jewellery designer of the 1970s and early 80s. He left Italy for the exciting possibilities of life in New York City and enrolled at the School of Visual Arts. Until 1960, he worked for the celebrated society jeweller David Webb, known for his bold and expressive designs, then moved to Tiffany & Co. where he began to develop his own design vocabulary.
In 1969, he moved to Cartier alongside the company’s president Michael Thomas, where, at the height of his skills, he introduced some of the most modern and timeless creations, such as the Love bracelet, a groundbreaking design that attaches to the wearer’s wrist with a special screwdriver. In 1971, the Nail collection followed, inspired by a nail wrapped around the finger or wrist, a surprising creation that embodied the gritty glamour of New York at the time.
Aldo Cipullo set up his own business in 1974 and continued to create eye-catching jewellery for men and women, including pieces in the shape of the dollar sign, which he described as “the electric eye that reflects the mood of this country”. In 1978, the American Gem Society commissioned him to design a collection of stones mined in America, such as turquoise from Arizona, diamonds from Arkansas and sapphires from Montana; these pieces are now part of the Smithsonian Institution. Although he sadly passed away suddenly in 1984, Aldo Cipullo’s legacy of forward-thinking yet classic designs remains unwaveringly popular.
The high-quality – and also high-priced – book “Cipullo: Making Jewelry Modern” has now been published about the exceptional talent Cipullo. It is full of striking images of his modern jewellery design that are both iconic and universal, intimate yet also very personal, contemporary and timeless. Accompanied by Cipullo family photos and loving anecdotes from Aldo’s friends, the lovingly designed slipcase unfolds the history of one of the most innovative and, to this day, enigmatic talents in modern jewellery history.
You can order the book with this link f0r CHF 289.00 (in english language only).