The tennis bracelet combines the glamour of diamonds and the practicality of regular-wear — not so great for professional sports as Chris Evert would come to find out (more about her later), and perfect for adding extra sparkle to your favourite celebration, or casual outfit.
The second on our list of the essentials for a jewellery collection, the tennis bracelet came from a time that began the shift of wearing fine jewellery any time, day and night. Read on to learn about how the tennis bracelet got its name, the designs that could be a potential match for your style expressions, and what to look out for when it comes to purchasing your first tennis bracelet.
Why is it called a ‘Tennis Bracelet?’
Tennis happens to be a sport that puts equal stock in fashion and athletic prowess, the traditional look being various shades of country club white, the highlighter yellow tennis ball being the only pop of colour. In terms of how “tennis” was specifically named for the diamond bracelet came from the 1987 U.S. Open, when tennis player Chris Evert lost her string of diamonds on court during a set, and asked officials to pause the game so she could look for it.
Despite the pivotal moment (“I never got one free tennis bracelet, by the way, and I feel like I kind of had something to do with it!” Evert said in an interview for American company AOL in 2018), Evert was reported to add fine jewellery to her tennis ensemble as far back as the late 70s.
At that time, the idea of fine jewellery being added to casualwear started taking off (think: Elsa Peretti’s designs for Tiffany’s, and the love bracelet from Cartier), in addition to wearing more natural elements like wood and leather, women began seeing their jewellery as something to wear for every occasion, not just special ones.
Eventually colour, fineries and flair became the norm for a sport that always has both players starting in love.
The prong setting refers to the number of pointed ends that will keeping your diamonds (or coloured gemstones!) in place. Diamonds are usually held in place with three or four prongs, which keep your precious stones secure and shining — the metal rods let light pass through the diamond’s pavilion.
In a channel setting, the gemstone gets placed in a channel (also known as a groove), with two rows of metal holding the stones in two places. This setting also provides maximum sparkle and security, while providing a finish that is perfect for a vintage aesthetic.
This setting surrounds the diamond, similar to a watch head. This metal on this setting can also be decorated, adding depth and shine to the final product. If you love this setting and want to see more of the stone, a half bezel setting could be what you’re looking for, where the metal is only connected to two sides of the stone.
While bracelet sizing is more forgiving than ring sizes, getting as close as you can to your size is best. The easiest way to find out the size — if there’s no measuring tape on hand, is to wrap a piece of string around the wrist, cut it to size and measure it later. Don’t forget to add 0.5 – 1 inch to the measurement, to make sure the bracelet fits comfortably. If the bracelet happens to be a gift and you’re not able to measure your special someone’s wrist, start with a 7-7.5 inch measurement and come back to your jeweller if adjustments need to be made.