It’s the middle of Wimbledon fortnight so it seemed like a good opportunity to talk about tennis bracelets!

Before it was known as the tennis bracelet, this style of jewellery was commonly referred to as a “diamond line bracelet” or an “eternity bracelet.” These bracelets featured a symmetrical pattern of diamonds or gemstones, set in a precious metal chain. The simple design meant that the stones took pride of place and it became a popular choice for elegant, everyday wear.

The name “tennis bracelet” was introduced after an unusual event during the 1978 U.S. Open Tennis Championship. Chris Evert, a renowned and respected professional tennis player, was in the middle of a match when her diamond bracelet snapped, sending diamonds scattering across the court. Evert asked for a pause in the match to retrieve the precious gemstones. As you can imagine, this caused a media frenzy and the term ‘tennis bracelet’ was born!

Evert’s bracelet was a classic diamond line bracelet, traditionally worn on the left wrist, known for its secure but flexible design. The incident highlighted the bracelet’s practicality and elegance and it became very popular with both athletes and fashion followers.

Following the Evert incident, the tennis bracelet surged in popularity. Jewellery designers began to innovate, creating variations that featured different types of gemstones, metals, and settings. In fact, Evert herself collaborated with Monica Rich Kosann, the New York-based jeweller, to craft a line of thoughtfully designed bracelets with details that referenced that fateful match.

The classic diamond tennis bracelet remained a staple, but jewellery lovers can now choose from sapphires, emeralds, rubies, and more, set in gold, platinum, or silver.

Originally published in the Purbeck Gazette on 8th July 2024