This Love-Cuffs chatelaine pin was but one item in a line of "solid gold look" hand-cuff themed jewelry manufactured by Alice Jewelry of Providence, Rhode Island. Other items in the Love-Cuffs line included earrings and necklace with tiny dangling handcuffs, a chunky gold handcuff necklace, and a pair of bangle bracelets decorated with a handcuff style clasps. A 1955 advertisement boasted that the bracelets opened and closed with a tiny key. Just don't lose the key!
Less a symbol of enduring love and more a cheeky reference to the binding chains of love, Love-Cuffs can be seen as an optimistic continuation of a World War II jewelry trend: sweetheart jewelry. Beginning in World War I, military men often gifted wives or sweethearts necklaces, pins, even charm bracelets, with military themes. More than just fashion, these ornaments were a way to demonstrate patriotism, while also maintaining a connection with loved ones serving overseas. Popular during World War I, sweetheart jewelry became even more prevalent during World War II.
Dating from the decade after World War II ended, this piece continues the sweetheart tradition and gives it a twist characteristic of the optimistic, prosperous 1950s. Like sweetheart jewelry, Love-Cuffs were a romantic way for a man to demonstrate his attachment to a special someone. Unlike wartime sweetheart jewelry, Love-Cuffs lacked the deeper dimension of patriotism.
Cartier offers a contemporary version of Love-Cuffs: the Love bracelet. A bangle bracelet available in a variety of metals, the Love bracelet features flush-set screws. The only way to don or remove the bracelet is by loosening these screws. For the less committed, Cartier also offers Love earrings that can be removed without a screwdriver.
For a closer look at the Love-Cuffs, visit Artfully Adorned: Jewelry from the Christie Romero Collection. The exhibition surveys two centuries of jewelry history and features approximately 50 pieces of historic jewelry. Artfully Adorned is open to the public Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm. Like all exhibitions at the FIDM Museum, admission to Artfully Adorned is FREE. Please note: visitors must have a current photo ID to access the Annette Green Fragrance Archive, which is located on the 2nd floor of the FIDM Los Angeles campus.
Artfully Adorned: Jewelry from the Christie Romero Collection
Presented in the Annette Green Fragrance Archive
919 S. Grand Ave, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90015