Find out how the style got its sporty name and see the best renditions being made today
Once upon a time—in the summer of 1978, to be exact—Chris Evert unintentionally made jewelry history during an early round of the US Open. It happened when the tennis champion’s delicate diamond and gold bracelet broke and fell to the ground; play was briefly suspended so she could find it. At the time someone—and no one remembers exactly who—immediately and cheekily dubbed the jewel a “tennis bracelet.” Needless to say, the name stuck. Though many of today’s tennis stars—we’re looking at you Serena—wear more dazzling diamond jewelry on the court than certain actresses on the red carpet, at the time, this was big news.
Evert is widely believed to be the first woman to wear diamonds on the tennis court. But even if she wasn’t factually the very first, her mishap definitely brought to the spotlight the particular diamond bracelet style.
In this day and age would you even believe that Evert’s bracelet, with all of its gems set in a row, used to be called a line bracelet? Today, some designers still use the classic terminology for the look that can be traced back to at least the 1920s.
During the art deco era, line bracelets generally consisted of square-cut stones fit closely together in a row. They were nicknamed “service stripes” in reference to the decorations worn by the military denoting a certain amount of time spent in the service; they were given on wedding anniversaries and represented successful “tours of duty.” Applied to jewels, the term served as a lighthearted joke. Well-heeled women and glamorous Hollywood stars piled them on and often layered them with wide art deco diamond bracelets creating a seriously extravagant arm party.
During the 1970s, line bracelets sent a very different message. Generally speaking, the style was about low-key luxury. Fashions were becoming increasingly casual with wrap dresses, pantsuits and denim. Delicate diamond jewels were a chic way to elevate a look. Of course, Chris Evert took the concept one step further when she paired her diamond bracelet with a tennis dress.
“I never take mine off!”
Over forty years later, tennis bracelets have become an essential piece to wear daily. “I never take mine off!” exclaims jewelry designer Jennifer Meyer. Designer Anita Ko concurs that they go with everything and have the ability to make women feel “sparkly and sexy at all times.”
The biggest change from the past to now is the seemingly infinite number of tennis bracelets available. Check them out here https://www.superjeweler.com/list/searchsite?tag=sj-happy-dance#/filter:category:Bracelets
What unites these looks and makes them all tennis bracelets? Well they all have a row of diamonds.But beyond that, there never was a hard and fast definition of the style. So go on,have some fun with them. And, like Chris Evert, don’t forget to literally play with jewelry.