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What is a tennis bracelet and what is so special about them? You may have heard the term “tennis bracelet” 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 that gave this bracelet its name)?
In this blog, we’ll answer everything you wanted to know about the beautiful tennis bracelet.
What is a Tennis Bracelet?
A tennis bracelet is an iconic fashion piece of jewellery. Some would go so far to say that a tennis bracelet is a perfect diamond bracelet. There are many different types of bracelets but a tennis bracelet has a distinct style,
It consists of a slim precious metal bracelet, with a single row of gemstones, joined together with movable joints between the stones.
Originally these were diamond bracelets, but gradually over time other gemstones or cubic zirconia’s were used to create more cost-effective bracelets.
Tennis Bracelet Styles
The diamonds in a tennis bracelet were traditionally all the same size, cut and clarity. But as jewellery designers have experimented new styles have resulted in graduated tennis bracelets make a lovely alternative to the classic tennis bracelet style, as does a double-row of gemstones.
Tennis bracelets with two, three alternative gemstone colours or even multi-coloured stones are not unusual to see now. Occasionally you can see two types of gemstones set in a tennis bracelet, in an alternating pattern, like this pearl and cubic zirconia bracelet below.
Precious metals like silver or a gold bracelet are all the most popular precious metal tennis bracelets, although a rose gold bracelet looks really good with the warm rose gold colour contrasting nicely against the white gemstones.
Diamond Tennis Bracelet
A diamond-set tennis bracelet is, in our opinion, the perfect diamond bracelet. It exudes elegance and exuberance in an understated way.
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.
Why is it called a Tennis Bracelet?
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.
How to Wear a Tennis Bracelet
When you think of a diamond tennis bracelet you think of dressed-up, formal attire but actually tennis bracelets 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 bracelets, tennis bracelets are often worn on the left wrist as most people are right-handed and therefore we are “gentler” with our left wrist so the bracelet will be less prone to being damaged.
They also look great stacked alongside other bracelets, and they look particularly good worn with, and on the same wrist, as a watch.
A diamond or cubic zirconia tennis bracelet 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 jewellery 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 gemstones, joined together
This bracelet has two rows of matching gemstones sitting alongside each other.
Graduated Tennis Bracelet
A graduated tennis bracelet has larger gemstones in the centre of the bracelet with stones 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 (or any other gemstones) are held in place, individually, by at least four “claws” which wrap around the gemstone and keep it secure. Most engagement ring diamonds use a claw setting.
A bezel set gemstone is placed inside 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 of jewellery. Whether they are set with diamonds, or cubic zirconia’s, this style of 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 gemstone but, as with all jewellery, we advise you to remove the bracelet, before you sleep, shower or bathe and never swim (or play sports – despite what Chris Evert chose to do!) in it.
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 clasp. 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 jewellery. Every so often the fold over clasp may need tightening by your local jeweller to ensure it closes tightly and securely again.
Diamond tennis bracelets with a bezel setting will eliminate the risk of catching the claws around your gemstones 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
We love tennis bracelets. They are perfect bracelet for special occasions and equally great with jeans and a t-shirt, whether they are set with diamonds or less precious stones.
They are a sought-after item of diamond jewellery and carry great style.
Many ladies were probably wearing a this style of bracelet for many years before the tennis player Chris Evert catapulted them to the forefront of 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.