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What is a tennis bracelet and what is so special about them? You may have heard the name and wondered what it is or how it is different from an ordinary bracelet?
Why is it called a tennis bracelet (hint: there was one notable public event involving tennis that gave this bracelet its name which we tell you about below)?
In this blog, we’ll answer everything you wanted to know about this beautiful and elegant bracelet and see what is considered the perfect tennis bracelet.
What is a Tennis Bracelet?
Like an eternity ring these are sometimes called eternity bracelets or a diamond line bracelet and they are an iconic piece.
Some would go so far to say that a tennis bracelet is a perfect diamond bracelet.
There are many different types of bracelets but these bracelets have a distinct look.
Traditional tennis bracelets feature a slim precious metal chain linked bracelet set with a single row of diamonds, all the same size, with each link joined together with movable joints between the stones.
Originally these were made in a precious metal like platinum or gold and set with diamonds, but gradually over time other metals, like silver, and gems or cubic zirconia’s were used to create more cost-effective bracelets.
As mentioned, metals like silver and gold are all the most popular precious metals used, although a rose gold bracelet looks really good with the warm rose gold colour contrasting nicely against the white gems.
The price of these bracelets varies considerably due to the metals used, as well as the gemstones. If used, the diamonds shape and diamond quality can make a big difference to the price.
Why is it called a Tennis Bracelet?
from: Black Bow Jewelry Co.
Why is a “tennis bracelet” called by this name? There is actually an interesting story around this bracelets name.
In 1978* Chris Evert, the famous American professional tennis player, was wearing her George Bedewi diamond bracelet whilst playing a match in the US Open. During the match, the clasp on the bracelet broke and fell off her wrist on the tennis court and, distressed, she stopped play to look for it.
During the post-match interview she was asked about the bracelet and she replied, “Oh, that’s my tennis bracelet”. This obviously caused quite a stir and was much talked about in the media afterwards and the bracelets were thereafter referred to as “tennis bracelets”.
Chris Evert was known for her style and chic sporting gear. Suddenly, demand for tennis bracelets was catapulted into an item of jewellery that everyone wanted almost overnight.
The makers of tennis bracelets also worked to put more secure clasps on their bracelets, too, after this incident.
As diamond bracelets go, a diamond tennis bracelet will cost a considerable amount considering how many diamonds would be needed to complete the length of the bracelet.
Because of this, cubic zirconia or other, less expensive, precious stones were used.
Traditionally, in these bracelets the stones used were usually also the same color, the same diamond size, cut and clarity.
As diamond bracelets go, these will cost a considerable amount (consider all the diamonds needed to complete the length of the bracelet). Because of this, cubic zirconia or other, less expensive, precious stones were used.
But as jewelry designers have experimented new styles have resulted in graduated tennis bracelets make a lovely alternative to the classic bracelet, as does a double-row of stones.
Bracelets with two, three alternative colours or even multi-coloured gems are not unusual to see now.
Occasionally you can see two types of gems set in this style of bracelet, in an alternating pattern, like this pearl and cubic zirconia bracelet below.
Diamond Tennis Bracelet
Diamond tennis bracelets are, in our opinion, the perfect diamond bracelet. It exudes elegance and exuberance in an understated way and pairs beautifully with other jewelry.
Chris Evert was known for her style and chic sporting gear. Suddenly, demand for diamond tennis bracelets was catapulted into an item of jewelry that everyone wanted almost overnight.
The makers of tennis bracelets also worked to put more secure clasps, too, after this incident.
How to Wear a Tennis Bracelet
When you think of a diamond tennis bracelet you think of dressed-up, formal attire but actually these are perfect for everyday wear and look great as a casual style as much as being a classic piece for smart dressing.
As with other types of bracelets, they are often worn on the right wrist as most people wear their watch on their left wrist and therefore it was believed the look should visually look balanced. This is not necessarily the case nowadays and modern styling means often they are worn on the left wrist, alongside a watch.
They also look great stacked alongside other bracelets.
Diamond tennis bracelets can be paired with solitaire diamond studs for a great effect and/or with a tennis necklace, although the latter would be more suitable for a special occasion.
This combination has got to be the perfect attire to wear with that little black dress.
Different Styles of Tennis Bracelets
A single row bracelet is, as its name suggests a bracelet with a single line of gems, joined together and is the classic tennis bracelet style. The diamond shape is round (with brilliant cut diamonds).
Double or Triple Row
These diamond bracelets have two, three or more rows laying alongside each other.
Graduated Tennis Bracelet
A graduated tennis bracelet has larger pieces in the centre of the bracelet gradually tapering in size towards the clasp.
Tennis Bracelet Settings
The stones in a tennis bracelet can be held in place with precious metals by way of one of three settings – claw set, a bezel set or channel set.
Claw Set/Prong Set
Claw set (sometimes called prong set) diamonds are held in place, individually, by at least four “claws” which wrap around the gemsstone and keep it secure. Most engagement ring diamonds use a claw setting.
Bezel set gemstones have a ring of precious metal, keeping the stone protected at the edges.
Channel set stones are secured within a solid channel of precious metal either side of the stones.
Are Tennis Bracelets Still Fashionable?
Tennis bracelets are still much-loved and are a classic piece to wear with any outfit. Whether they are set with diamonds, or cubic zirconia’s, this bracelet will go with anything, casual wear or for formal occasions.
They add a lovely sparkle to any outfit but have a minimalist, elegant look without being too glitzy.
Can I Wear a Tennis Bracelet All the Time?
Tennis bracelets are flexible as they are jointed between each stone but, as with all jewelry, we advise you to remove the bracelet, before you sleep, shower or bathe and never swim wearing it (or play sports – despite what Chris Evert chose to do!).
How to Care for Your Bracelet
If the stones on your bracelet have a claw setting, every so often check the claws to ensure they are holding the stones securely or ask your local jeweller to do it for you.
If ever you catch your bracelet, do get it checked afterward to ensure the settings haven’t been compromised in any way – you won’t want to lose a stone.
Also check the closure. Bracelets with a fold over clasp may become looser over time. This is quite normal as precious metals, particularly gold which is softer than sterling silver, are slightly pliable to be shaped into jewelry.
Every so often the fold over clasp may need tightening by your local jeweller to ensure it closes tightly and securely again. Ensure it has a good lock (most do these days) and also has a safety catch.
Bracelets with a bezel setting will eliminate the risk of catching the claws around your stones if you plan on wearing your bracelet every day.
If you think you may worry about wearing a tennis bracelet every day in case you lose or damage it, it makes sense to wear a bracelet set with cubic zirconia’s instead.
To Sum Up
Tennis bracelets are perfect for special occasions (we wouldn’t necessarily recommend you wear them whilst playing sport, despite the fabulous story of how they got their name).
They look equally great to pair with jeans and a t-shirt, whether they are set with diamonds or other stones.
Many women were wearing this style of bracelet to create their look for many years before the tennis player Chris Evert showed the world how great they look and caught everyones attention.
*The date that Chris Evert lost her tennis bracelet whilst playing tennis is normally stated as being in 1987 but a journalist thoroughly researched the story, even contacting Chris Evert’s publicist and discovered it was in the year 1978, not 1987. The journalist explains in this interesting article her findings.