It’s always fun to figure out where the words we use every day came from. Whether it’s a submarine sandwich, stiletto shoes, or a flea market, there‘s usually a historical explanation for the terms we take for granted.
The tennis bracelet is the perfect example of this. We love these slim, sleek pieces around our wrists, but have you ever thought about how it got its name? Very few people who wear these items actually run around on a court hitting balls with a racket, so there has to be a story behind it.
As it turns out, there is a good reason why we use the term tennis bracelet, and we can learn a thing or two about jewelry in general from the tale. Let’s solve this mystery and figure out what makes the tennis bracelet such a unique and beloved piece of jewelry.
Tennis Bracelet Origin Story
Tennis may have a stodgy, country-club reputation, but if you’ve ever seen a live game, you’ll know it’s an intense experience for the players, especially at a competitive level.
Players leap, lunge, and run at top speed, and use their whole strength to crank the ball at high speed over the net with laser accuracy. It’s no joke.
The story of the tennis bracelet begins back in 1987 when world-famous tennis player Chris Evert was playing a high-level match at the U.S. Open. Evert was known for her intensity, and she was bringing theheat on that day in Queens, NY.
She was halfway through the match when she found herself stuck in a rally with her opponent. She delivered a dagger point winner to the opposite court and pumped her fist in victory, but noticed something was missing – her diamond bracelet.
This was a big deal for Evert, who was known for her style and old-school 80s swag on the court. There was no way she’d keep playing if she didn’t have her bracelet.
She motioned to the officials to pause the game as she looked for her bracelet. Loaded with diamonds and a white gold base, the bracelet had to be recovered. Luckily, it turned up in the corner of the court, and things resumed as normal.
Of course, the crowd loved this mid-match jewelry drama, and everyone’s attention was on Evert’s bracelet for the rest of the match. Since then, this particular style of bracelet, which was previously known as an eternity bracelet or a line diamond bracelet, earned the name “tennis bracelet,” and we haven’t looked back.
The name just rolls off the tongue, and it fits the sporty style of the jewelry we see today. Evert never talked too much about that 1987 incident, but she doesn’t need to. A jewelry revolution took place that day, changing the course of courtside style forever.
How Tennis Bracelets Have Evolved
If you look at the tennis bracelets of the 80s, you might not be very impressed. While they have perfectly good diamonds and strong craftsmanship, we like more wild and crazy styles as the years have rolled on – that’s just how fashion works.
So what makes a tennis bracelet a tennis bracelet? For starters, it needs to be lightweight. We’re not talking about thick, 12mm Cuban Prong Diamond Bracelets here – it should be easy to maneuver your arm and wrist at all times.
A true tennis bracelet will max out between 5mm and 7mm, with some even skinnier than that. Some may be made of 925 sterling silver, while others could be 18k white gold or some other variant of gold vermeil or plating.
While diamonds aren’t necessary for tennis bracelets, we know the truth – those crystals make all the difference. Even if you opt for a more affordable simulant diamond like CZ, you can still spring for that genuine gold finish and ramp up your style.
As far as the cut is concerned, round diamonds are the most common shapes found in the tennis bracelets of today, but you may also see more pave-style diamonds that offer that fully-iced effect.
There are also modern tennis bracelets that blend a range of stone sizes and cuts to create something totally fresh and new. A Clustered Tennis Bracelet in Rose Gold, for example, connects a band of links that each feature numerous hand-set mini stones, with a round-cut diamond in the middle. The rose glow offers a cool contrast that looks great on all skin tones. That’s a tennis bracelet made for the future.
Tennis Necklaces Are Now In Play
With the right amount of simplicity, sportiness, and style, the tennis bracelet is going to stick around. The look is so influential that we’re seeing it cross over to necklaces, which are totally changing the jewelry game.
The philosophy of the tennis necklace is pretty much the same as the bracelet, with light and versatile looks that don’t weigh the wearer down.
Some tennis chains are even thinner than the bracelets and keep the diamonds even closer together for extra comfort around the neck. For athletic folks, it’s like you’re wearing nothing at all, but you’re still flexing on the competition with a clean style. They make more sense for the workplace, the gym, the beach, and any other event that might come up.
As more styles and materials make their way to the market, keep your eyes open for tennis necklaces that speak to your personality. Top jewelers are just getting started on this style, so get ready for even more cool designs.
Online-based brands like 6 Ice are the ones pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the jewelry game, and you won’t want to ever miss a drop. Follow them on social media so you can see in real-time where the jewelry industry is headed.
An Excellent Gift (Or Treat Yourself)
While a tennis bracelet or necklace might not be the most extravagant piece of jewelry in the shop, it’s a tried-and-true option that will ALWAYS serve you well as a gift for family or friends.
Let’s be honest – a massive iced-out Cuban Link chain may not be what Mom wants for Christmas, and you can play things a bit safer with a classic tennis bracelet she can wear every day.
If there’s a brother-in-law or relative who just got married or graduated college, gifts can be tough. Once again, a tennis bracelet or necklace is one of those things that will never steer you wrong.
With so many awesome options out there, you’re bound to find one that fits the personality of the person you’re buying for – even if that person is you.
Remember, when buying any type of jewelry, stick with brands you know and trust, especially when browsing online. Look for companies that offer customer support, have positive reviews from real people, and will have your back with a warranty for the long run.
Tennis bracelets and necklaces are built to last, and buying from a legit producer will make sure you keep that winning piece for life.
You don’t need to be Roger Federer or Serena Williams to look fresh in a tennis bracelet every single day. These are super-versatile pieces that work with nearly any outfit and won’t get in your way as you’re putting in work at the office or the gym.
When the work is done, you can switch to the club scene and still get tons of compliments about your tennis bracelet. 24/7, it just doesn’t quit.
Don’t forget about tennis necklaces, either. The foundational style remains intact, and you can mix and match different pieces on your wrist and neck to create the ultimate iced-up look.
Tennis bracelets rock thanks to their sleek nature, so embrace a more minimal vibe from time to time and lean into something new. You won’t regret adding any of these pieces to your collection.