Tennis bracelets are back in vogue – with a vengeance. It was widely tipped the tennis bracelet was making a comeback a couple of years ago, and indeed demand and sales have skyrocketed recently. A slinky, sparkly tennis bracelet is a must-have accessory item right now. Popularity increased to such an extent that many more designs and styles of tennis bracelets are now available. There are contemporary versions of this classic which are so fresh and fun. A tennis bracelet makes a gorgeous gift for a special occasion and goes beautifully as an element in overall bridal styling – a fabulous extra for a wedding ensemble. What is a tennis bracelet? Below we serve up all you need to know about this iconic player.
Industry expert Yuvi Alpert, founder and CEO of US jewellery firm Noémie, succinctly and perfectly describes the tennis bracelet as, “a single row of flexible, close-set diamonds, and a securely designed clasp, designed to move fluidly without the concern of it falling off.”
Chris Evert and the origin of the tennis bracelet
This style of bracelet has been around for a long time, at the top of its game in the ‘Roaring Twenties’.
Glamorous Art Deco era ladies enjoyed sporting what was then known as a diamond line bracelet. So how did it become known as a tennis bracelet? It’s definitely one of the quirkiest accounts of how a type of jewellery got its name. Wind back the clock to the 1978 US Tennis Open – the first year the event was held at Flushing Meadow – a young Chris Evert is playing centre court, and during an exceptionally long rally, her George Bedewi diamond line bracelet comes off.
Miss Evert asked for the game to be paused, and she searched the court, locating the bracelet quite quickly. The match was being televised, so millions of TV viewers also witnessed this unusual interlude. When she was asked about the incident by reporters after the game, Chris Evert said, “Oh, that was my tennis bracelet.”
The rest is history; from that moment on they became known as tennis bracelets. Following this episode, not only did tennis bracelets become wildly popular, but jewellers started making much more sturdy and secure clasps for them.
Characteristics and types
A tennis bracelet is constructed from numerous identical settings, which each has a hinge. The links are joined from the sides which gives the bracelet flexibility. Many popular tennis bracelets feature round diamonds secured in settings of four claws. Jewellers can easily adjust the length of a tennis bracelet so that it fits perfectly (not too tight or too loose). As mentioned above, there are lots of options to choose from now, such as bracelets combining diamonds with sapphires or rubies, bracelets featuring emerald cut or baguette diamonds or oval cut diamonds, bracelets with S-lock pattern settings clasping round diamonds and many more.
Tennis bracelets can be very dainty or quite chunky. They can be done in yellow or white or rose gold or platinum. You can design your own tennis bracelet and have it custom made.
Wearing your tennis bracelet
Should you wear it when playing tennis? Absolutely! As mentioned above, when they became known as tennis bracelets, clasp mechanisms were improved, and good quality tennis bracelets should not come undone. A heavy impact knock could damage your bracelet of course, and if it were to somehow get caught on something at high velocity, the latch or a link could potentially be broken, causing it to fall off, but this is unlikely.
Although it is quite a light-hearted, fun item of jewellery by nature, nevertheless, it contains numerous diamonds and/or other precious stones, and as such has significant monetary value, so you definitely need to be mindful of that. Tennis bracelets are not for wearing every day. They play a fantastic round with matching earrings. Why not bring in a complementary necklace? Or have a tennis bracelet custom made to go with a favourite set of necklace and earrings you already own – game, set, match! Tennis bracelets are mostly worn on the same wrist as your watch, higher up the arm. If you have a snappy watch, this look is an ace, especially if the two complement each other in colour and tone.