If you’ve ever wondered where the term tennis bracelet comes from, you’re probably not alone. After all, what does a simple string of (usually) square-cut diamonds have to do with racket sports? The name was actually coined in the 1970s thanks to American tennis star Chris Evert who, while rising through the ranks, became known for her signature diamond bracelet. Wearing jewellery on court, especially something as extravagant as a diamond line bracelet, was practically unheard of at the time and the style’s popularity soared in alignment with Evert’s own athletic rise. Evert would go on to win 18 Grand Slam titles but perhaps her most famous moment came when her tennis bracelet broke during a particularly long rally at the US Open. Evert refused to continue playing until her jewellery was found causing officials to halt a highly competitive match.
However, despite not attaining their modern nomenclature until the Seventies, diamond line or eternity bracelets have been popular since the 1920s when they were often worn as stacks by society’s most glamorous denizens. Simple in design and timeless in appeal, there are few investments better guaranteed to become heirlooms than a classic tennis bracelet. Here are some of the best to buy now.
Graff tennis bracelet
While they may be best known for their sporty associations, the aforementioned elegance and timelessness of a tennis bracelet also makes them brilliant gifts for big milestones. Graff eschews classic round or square-cut diamonds for heart-shaped stones in this design ideal for weddings and anniversaries.
Or & Elle tennis bracelet
Created in collaboration with Meaghan Cox, chief brand officer at California-based lifestyle brand Jenni Kayne, Or & Elle’s George Riviere bracelet features a string of graduated D-colour lab-grown diamonds of IF/VVS quality. Each is held in place by a three-prong solitaire 18k gold setting guaranteeing maximum sparkle.
Suzanne Kalan tennis bracelet
Suzanne Kalan has applied her irreverent way with fine stones to bring the traditional tennis bracelet firmly into the 21st Century. Instead of a neat row of identically sized diamonds, Kalan’s modern twist sees four carats worth of baguette-cut diamonds nestled jauntily against one another in a playful, more youthful take.
Shay tennis bracelet
If you’re looking for an absolute classic of the style, look no further than Shay. Famed for its LA-inflected clean lines and minimalism, this tennis bracelet features a super-flexible articulated cup chain and 2.1 carats of round-cut white diamonds.
Dinny Hall tennis bracelet
Tennis bracelets may traditionally feature only white diamonds but there’s no denying that cramming that many fine stones into one piece of jewellery can result in a serious price tag. If your pockets don’t run that deep, Dinny Hall’s Shuga Ombre bracelet punctuates a 14k gold chain with amethyst, peridot, tsavorite, topaz and tanzanite for a colourful take perfect for summer.
777 tennis bracelet
If you’re exacting about your jewellery you’ll know that it is not just the cut and clarity of the stones that make a great piece, it’s also the size. Perhaps you want a tennis bracelet that is subtle and dainty or maybe you want to make a splash with a bit more sparkle. Either way, allow us to point you in the direction of 777. This Antwerp-based fine jewellery brand makes its signature tennis bracelet in four widths, ranging from 18mm to 26mm, so you’re guaranteed to find the perfect fit.
Mozafarian tennis bracelet
Family-run jewellery house Mozafarian has been turning out exquisite pieces since 1821 - and has therefore witnessed the entire evolution of the tennis bracelet. With this rose gold design, it takes the style one step further, setting 2.2 carats of VS-S1 clarity diamonds within a series of twisted cubes showcasing the stones from all angles.