September Jewel of the Month

This fabulous long vintage necklace of black onyx and lapis lazuli designed by Aldo Cipullo for Cartier circa 1970 is Hancocks’ Jewel of the Month for September.

The necklace is formed of seventeen polished black onyx rings, graduated in size and joined together with18ct yellow gold oval links, each set to the top with a pyramid of vibrant rich blue lapis lazuli. Italian-born Aldo Cipullo emigrated to the US in 1959 and went on to study at Manhattan’s famed School of Visual Arts. After Cipullo graduated, he found work designing for the American jeweller David Webb and, after a few years, moved to Tiffany & Co to work with Gene Moore, alongside a group of young designers including Donald Claflin.

However, it was his move to Cartier in 1969 that would bring him to the attention of jewellery aficionados worldwide thanks to his now iconic design of the ‘Love’ bangle, a simple and sleek gold bangle fitted to the wrist with tiny screws. Shortly after, he also designed the ‘Juste un Clou’ arguably as recognisable as the former and once again demonstrating his ability to turn an everyday object, such as a nail, into something so chic and wearable.

During his time with Cartier, Cipullo created multiple collections and was the only employed designer allowed to sign the pieces he created for the brand. He favoured yellow gold and complemented it with colourful hardstones such as lapis, carnelian, chalcedony and onyx, designing pieces with the modern woman in mind. In 1974, he decided to leave Cartier to focus on his own studio, Aldo Cipullo Ltd, where he gained complete design freedom and he continued to have great success.

Sadly, his career was cut short when, in 1984, he passed away at the age of 48. Guy Burton, Managing Director, Hancocks London, comments: “Cipullo was a handsome and charismatic man who embodied the phrase ‘work hard play hard’ and took full advantage of everything New York had to offer during the hedonistic Seventies. “While Cipulio’s life came to a premature end, his name lives on and will forever be synonymous with bold, fabulous jewellery. His designs are as desirable now as when they were created, they are truly collectable jewels every bit as stylish and fun as the man that conceived them.

“This bold and brilliant necklace epitomises Cipullo’s design ethos. He believed that inspiration could be found everywhere and he regularly transformed seemingly simple everyday shapes and motifs into desirable jewels. It’s a pleasure to be able to offer this piece for sale and just wonderful to see Cipullo’s pieces live on for another generation to enjoy and appreciate.”

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