When the Juste un Clou bracelet was created in 1971 at Cartier New York, it was known as the Nail bracelet. According to the coffee table tome Cipullo: Making Jewelry Modern published by Assouline in association with Cartier, Juste un Clou is an iconic expression of the House.
Aldo Cipullo, its creator, was inspired by the modernity of New York City where Cartier has had its presence for over the last 100 years. In the 1970s, the idea of jewellery as daily wear was unheard of, and it was definitely an anathema to Europeans since prevailing social norms of that continent meant that such adornments only made an appearance for special occasions.
Cartier Juste Un Clou
This shaped Cipullo’s philosophy behind creations like Cartier’s Juste Un Clou (and Love) to be simply elegant accessories for everyday wear. Combined with Cipullo’s love for elevating the mundane, the Nail bracelet, which returned in 2012, earned it the name Juste un Clou for its pure lines. It is the idea that the purity of a seemingly ordinary shape can turn a simple “nail” into sophisticated jewellery.
Today the collection exists in yellow gold, rose gold and white gold, in both paved and non-paved designs and despite the sumptuous materials involved in its creation, there remain stark, down-to-earth details like the five engraved ridges reminiscent of flat-headed hardware nails. Cartier’s Juste un Clou isn’t merely art mimicking real life, it is real life turned art. The collection also incorporates rings, brooches, necklaces and pendant earrings.
Ecrou de Cartier
I recall at a 2017 Salone del Mobile in Milan, this ethos was further deepened with the Ecrou de Cartier, literally inspired by nuts and bolts, with an exhibition tagline “When the Ordinary Becomes Precious”.
Nail on its head, it is telling of our own bias when the mere existence of its predecessor Juste Un Clou has not yet opened our eyes to the potential (or obvious) beauty of thing we might find in our own toolboxes. It is a transformation of an apparently ordinary collection of nuts and exaggerated bolts into the extraordinary new Ecrou de Cartier Collection.