Many people would perhaps be surprised to know that a “tennis bracelet” was not always referred to as such. In fact, these bracelets were once known as “diamond line” or “eternity” bracelets. This was because, like eternity earrings or rings, this type of bracelet is made with a string of diamonds that are set closely together, to encircle the wrist.
However, this begs the question – if these bracelets have nothing to do with tennis, then why the newfound name? Well, while the tennis bracelet wasn’t uniquely crafted with tennis players in mind, it was a particular tennis player and match, that catapulted this type of bracelet into immense popularity and prompted the process of renaming and rebranding this accessory in its entirety.
The History of the Tennis Bracelet’s Rebrand
The renaming and mass popularity of the tennis bracelet is owed to one woman – Chris Evert. She was a stunningly beautiful and incredibly gifted tennis player, that was known for her stylish tastes on and off the court. She had a massive following of fans because, at the height of her tennis career, she was ranked as the top player in the world.
The situation that brought a whole new level of fame to the tennis bracelet was entirely coincidental. The year was 1978, and Chris Evert was at the US Championships – otherwise known as the US Open. On this day, she chose to wear her favorite diamond eternity bracelet, as a symbol of good luck during her match. However, during the game, the unthinkable occurred. As she swung her racket, the clasp of her small bracelet snapped, causing the bracelet to launch off of her wrist, somewhere onto the court.
She immediately asked the officials to pause the match, so that she could retrieve her bracelet before they continued with the next point. The officials agreed to her request and she was able to search the court and retrieve her bracelet before the match recommenced. Afterward, when being interviewed, Evert referred to the piece of jewelry as her “tennis bracelet”.
Being that this bracelet was made by George Bedewi, a very notable jewelry designer, it was odd that the clasp of the bracelet broke. Regardless, this incident prompted jewelry designers across the world to create securer clasps for their tennis bracelets – especially considering the astronomical demand for this type of bracelet post-Evert’s famous moment.
The incident drew such public attention and Chris Evert was already such a famous individual, that diamond line bracelets were rebranded as tennis bracelets. Many jewelry companies and designers saw this as a very marketable opportunity. Because of this, they saw fit to change the name of the bracelet, as it brought in more customers and purchases. They began seeing enormous profits after doing so, which caused other companies to do the same – causing a permanent name change to occur.
In the present day, many tennis fans, jewelry connoisseurs and historians alike have still attempted to speculate or debate that this incident actually occurred a decade later, in 1987. However, accurate sources and Chris Evert herself, have confirmed that information to be false and the 1978 date, to be correct.
Besides Chris Evert, What Makes a Tennis Bracelet Such a Popular Choice?
Since the Chris Evert incident, the tennis bracelet has gone on to be one of the most beloved pieces of jewelry – even after four decades have passed. At Diamond Exchange Houston we often get requests for tennis bracelets. This type of bracelet is often viewed as a minimalistic piece, while still being incredibly gorgeous. It is also a relatively simple and dainty piece, without any charms or dangling bits, making it perfect for anyone from an athlete, to a hardworking professional that’s constantly using their hands. Many even love to style a tennis bracelet alongside loungewear or athletic wear outfit.
At the same time, considering it is generally a bracelet that is “covered” in diamonds, it’s viewed as a high-end piece of jewelry. There are many examples of famous people like Meghan Markle, Billie Eilish, Princess Diana, Victoria Beckham, and Sarah Jessica Parker wearing these bracelets in very high-fashion or professional settings. This makes tennis bracelets an elegant, yet subtle, way of adding some more bling to an outfit.
Aside from the versatility of how one can choose to style themselves with a tennis bracelet as an accessory, how a tennis bracelet can be made is also quite versatile. While diamonds can clearly be strewn along a bracelet made of white, rose, or yellow gold the stones themselves can be changed as well. One can opt to have a tennis bracelet made of their birthstone or perhaps a gemstone that they find beautiful, like morganite, citrine, opal, peridot, or even tanzanite. The most popular option at Diamond Exchange Houston of course in all diamonds!
Many folks purchasing tennis bracelets appreciate the many different options in terms of clasps. As previously mentioned, the Chris Evert incident brought popularity and an abundance of changes to the tennis bracelet. Amongst those changes, were the visual aesthetic, durability, and variety of clasps made marketable. Some of the options include; lobster, toggle, barrel, open box, figure 8 safety, and s-hood clasps, just to name a few. Just send us a picture of the style that you like and we can make it happen!
Folks also have the option to select from different types of prongs to secure their stones in place. Some of the available options are; four prongs, three-prong, two-prong, and Bezel. Four, three, and two-prong tennis bracelets refer to the specific type of basket and number of prongs that hold a gemstone in place. These are all very similar to the setting that you will generally see on an engagement ring, with small pin-like structures ascending from the basket, holding the stone securely to the bracelet.
In contrast, the Bezel-style tennis bracelet is made differently. This specific style has the diamonds or gemstones set back in an encircled bit of metal – leaving them without the necessity of prongs on the face of the diamond. The Bezel style is simplistic and gorgeous, not to mention, it is thought to better encapsulate and protect the diamonds, than that of a prong-styled tennis bracelet.
Because of all of these fine qualities, regardless of the Chris Evert situation, the tennis bracelets’ popularity is still lasting through the test of time. While we can attribute the original massive boom in demand to her 1978 tennis match and the love of her own bracelet, the beauty and versatility of this piece is truly what has caused it to retain its adoration.
Shop For Tennis Bracelets Today!
If this article has made you want to get a tennis bracelet then contact Diamond Exchange Houston today! Diamond Exchange Houston is a wholesale diamond jewelry store located in Houston, TX that offers the best deals on engagement rings, loose diamonds, and custom jewelry. Schedule your appointment today by leaving your information on our contact page.