Who Did the Nail Bracelet First and Does it Matter?

Like the rolled fold-over paper bag-esque bags we wrote about earlier this week, the nail bracelet was inspired by an everyday household object. No one designer can claim to have invented the nail, but whose idea was it to make one into a chic bracelet?
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Dhani Mau
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Like the rolled fold-over paper bag-esque bags we wrote about earlier this week, the nail bracelet was inspired by an everyday household object. No one designer can claim to have invented the nail, but whose idea was it to make one into a chic bracelet?
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Like the rolled fold-over paper bag-esque bags we wrote about earlier this week, the nail bracelet was inspired by an everyday household object. No one designer can claim to have invented the nail, but whose idea was it to make one into a chic bracelet?

The most buzzed-about version has been Cartier's Juste un Clou (just a nail) bracelet. Originally designed in the 70s by Aldo Cipullo, the style was reissued last spring for the first time in decades--but Giles and Brother, known for its industrial aesthetic, had already been making its own nail bracelet for years, and in many contemporary people's minds kinda 'owned' it at that point. While the Giles & Brother version is a bit more tough, Cartier's is decidedly delicate, luxe and Cartier-esque.

Of course, the look didn't become trendy until recently. And now several designers and brands make their own version of the nail bracelet--and they're not all cheap. High end labels like Saint Laurent and Jennifer Fisher have pricy good-quality iterations out now; while lesser quality, under-$30 versions can be found everywhere from Urban Outfitters to Piperlime to Etsy.

But is one really better than the other? Sure, Cartier did it first--and there's definitely some copy-cating going on--but at the same time, the design is kind of a no brainer, a little too generic for one brand to 'own.'

Maybe this quote from The Social Network applies: "A guy who makes a nice chair doesn't owe money to everyone who has ever built a chair."

What do you think? Are they all just a bunch of chairs or should Cartier be the only brand allowed to sell nail bracelets (which retail for $6,000-$40,000)?