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Style Focus: the Tennis Bracelet

Style Focus: the Tennis Bracelet

Learn about this iconic jewellery piece and the infamous moment which coined the name ‘tennis bracelet’.

The bracelet began as a formal accessory or statement piece in the 20s, designed to elevate outfits and worn only for special occasions. It was only by the 70s the bracelet made its way into everyday styling and more mainstream fashion.

A tennis bracelet is quite simply a string of stones, typically diamonds, held together by a metal clasp usually of either platinum or white gold. The round-cut diamonds are typically held in a claw setting and wrap around the entirety of the wrist to give a delicate yet eye-catching sparkle. They tend to be symmetrical and quite dainty – designed to be an understated but classic accessory.

Originally referred to as the ‘eternity bracelet’, however, a certain historic moment occurred on a tennis court that birthed the new nickname. Nowadays the accessory is definitely not limited to the courts and instead is an elegant accessory designed to be worn on any occasion. So, whether you want to use the bracelet for its original purpose as a display of eternal love or if you just wanted a shiny pink sapphire bracelet to bring some excitement and sparkle to your everyday outfits – the tennis bracelet is the piece for you. The bracelet can be made in any of Fenton’s collection of gemstones and can be chosen to fit anyone’s individual style – a Red Ruby bracelet for the July birthstone or a Yellow Sapphire for those who love the sun and all things bright. So, no matter your style or reason for the bracelet, it can be adapted to your preference.
blue sapphire tennis bracelets stacked by Fenton (luxury quality jewellers with B Corp status)

Where did the name come from?

The origins of this iconic bracelet can be traced back to the 1987 US Open when renowned tennis champion Chris Evert experienced an unexpected incident. During a heated match, her diamond bracelet snapped and fell off her wrist. She requested a pause in the game to search for her beloved piece, leading to the term "tennis bracelet." The press coverage following this pause in such a historic match led to a resurgence of this style.

Previously the bracelet was an ‘Eternity Bracelet’ and was often gifted as an alternative to eternity rings as a symbol of eternal love. However, following the commotion at the game, people coined a new term for the piece. Although the bracelet doesn’t actually have anything to do with the sport, many began calling it that based on its flexibility and the fact that you could even wear the bracelet to play tennis.

Styling diamonds with more laidback outfits, and even sportswear, was a trend in the 70s and so the tennis bracelet grew rapidly in style. There was an increase in mixing more formal pieces with laidback outfits. People had become intrigued by the variability of this bracelet: if it was so versatile that it could be worn at the US Open, where else could it go?
Chris Evert playing tennis wearing first iconic tennis bracelet

How can it be styled?

The tennis bracelet is an exceptionally versatile piece. The bracelet has been in style since the 20s but it was really the 70s which transformed it from a piece saved for special occasions to a classic staple in any wardrobe. Whether you need to compete in an actual tennis game or just want to accessorise your everyday life, this bracelet is bound to work with any activity. And we can thank Chris Evert for that.

Since then, celebrities have been wearing this bracelet for years: being a favourite amongst royals with Princess Diana notoriously loving her Tennis Bracelet, and Meghan Markle now being spotted wearing it in tribute. Outside of the royal family, Jennifer Lopez can always be seen sporting her iconic ‘chocolate’ diamond tennis bracelet, and both Kate Moss and Billie Eilish have been seen wearing their version of the classic piece on the Met Gala red carpet.
Princess Diana tennis bracelet

The bracelet can really be styled to each individual’s preference. With our colourful bracelets you really can mix and match to create your own look. Some people choose to wear one alone, whilst others stack many of the same colour or even create a custom stack of rainbow tennis bracelets. They can be styled as bold and maximalist statements or stripped back to an elegant glint of colour. They are the perfect finishing touch for any whole hand jewellery stacking – you can blend them seamlessly with rings or use them to draw attention.
The tennis bracelet, whilst famous for its versatility, has also been very well known for its function as a bridal piece. The timeless bracelet has been favoured by brides for many years as a simple yet elegant way of bringing a subtle sparkle to your bridal attire. Our Aquamarine and Blue Sapphire version of the piece could even be that something blue needed for the bride!
So whether you personally have a wedding coming up or if you simply have a lot of impending summer weddings – our colourful bracelets are that perfect final touch to complete a wedding outfit.

styled stack of jewellery: pearl and blue sapphire bracelets and emerald tennis bracelet

How to care for a tennis bracelet?

The bracelet, as with most fine jewellery pieces, will look best when all gemstones are shining bright!

Keeping the gemstones clean is fairly simple and follows the same rules as any other piece: gently washing it with a soft toothbrush in warm water and dish soap should keep the gemstones sparkling! However, each stone has slightly different rules – Emeralds are softer and more prone to damage and scratches. Therefore, if purchasing a bracelet with Emerald stones be slightly more attentive and try to clean it without any use of soap.

Or if wearing a lighter stone, such as Aquamarine or Yellow Sapphire, customers consider investing in a polishing cloth to wipe off fingerprints and smudges from everyday life. This cloth ensures the stones are always looking their best.

There are more technical alternatives that can be used for your jewellery, such as investing in an ultrasonic bath. This bath is suitable for all stones apart from Emeralds. The bath is relatively simple to use – you fill it with warm soapy water and place the bracelet inside.

Since the bracelet can be pretty much worn everyday, most professional jewellers will offer Aftercare to ensure your fine jewellery is sparkling as if new. Our aftercare service comes with an initial flat fee and includes 12 months of servicing and an annual check up with additional features such as stone replacement or resizing.

emerald tennis bracelet, alternative classic tennis bracelet

How do I get mine?

How do I get mine? At Fenton, Tennis Bracelets are made to order and can come in any gemstone from our standard collection – making each piece and gemstone specifically designed for you. Although, if you’d like a specific stone then we are able to source them through our bespoke service to guarantee your dream bracelet.

Tennis Bracelets, as with any piece of jewellery, range greatly in price. Naturally, as any piece with precious stones, the price is contingent on the quality and background of the stone. Since the piece uses quite a few precious stones, the price can be greater than other bracelets or other more simple pieces. Our tennis bracelet price ranges from £‎1950 to £2500. These prices are reflective of well-sourced stones from conflict-free mines. Although, because of our smart-sourcing practices, we’re able to cut up middlemen markups and undercut traditional jewellers by 2-4x the average. Fenton ensures you can purchase this timeless luxury bracelet at high end quality for unrivalled value and sustainability.

So whether you want a classic piece, a bridal statement or a very thoughtful gift: be sure to browse the selection and maybe you too can cause another commotion at a tennis Open!

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