Tales of the “Tennis Bracelet” and other tennis bling

By Rishe Groner

We spend so much time on this site talking about tennis. But lately, there’s been gold and silver and even lovely bronze flashing in front of our faces during Olympic season, which means it’s not far off to start looking at the bling in tennis. So moving on from fuzzy yellow balls, let’s move on to other things. Let’s talk about… pretty things! Jewelry things! Tennis jewelry things!

That’s right, let’s talk about tennis bracelets!

Over the years, the gap has widened between the original players – and lovers – of this sport, with tennis players moving across the spectrum from upper class white gentlemen and gentleladies to the baseball-cap wearing, expletive-yelling muscle-tank-clad players of today. Fans have gone from wearing tennis whites and pleated dresses to matches to swathing themselves in national flags and smearing faces with greasepaint as they wave around beers and make up chants to support local favorites.

It’s from those days of yore that the favored attire of some gentle-ladies, the tennis bracelet, earned its moniker. Of course, nowadays when we think tennis jewelry, it’s all about Maria Sharapova’s or Serena Williams’ flashy accessories. Both ladies now also have their own ranges of jewelry too, but they’re far from being pioneers when it comes to tennis players influencing jewelry fashion design: This story dates back to the lovely Chrissie Evert, star tennis player of the 1980s.

Back then, there existed a diamond bracelet known to many as the ‘eternity’ or ‘inline’ diamond bracelet, which was essentially a chain with a line of symmetrical diamonds, all evenly sized. Chris was playing her match at the US Open in 1987 when a bit of a flick of the wrist service motion had the bracelet snap on court – and the match suspended for a brief moment while she collected her diamonds from the surface. Now, Carlos Ramos can stop when a ball flies into the microphone, or an umpire might let players take a breather if there’s a dead spot on court. But stopping play for collecting diamonds is a classic, much like those pretty gemstones themselves, which as we all know, are a girl’s best friend.

These days in tennis, it’s not just about the ladies though: Roger Federer’s deal with Rolex and Rafael Nadal’s endorsement with Richard Mille means the gents are wielding wrists on court that are worth more than just the forehand motion: Nadal’s watch he wore at the French Open was valued at over half a million dollars. Wearing jewelry on court is risky, though, which is why after Chris Evert’s mishap, the newly-named “tennis bracelets” featured the same diamond design, with a safety catch.

Diamond tennis racket

In these blinged-out modern times, of course, the bracelets have evolved ever so fabulously: The typical tennis bracelet might feature colored gemstones of a variety of sizes and designs, though many remain as a classic diamond bracelet. But for those of us wanting an accessory that actually reflects the roots of this sport we know and love, you can’t go wrong with a charm bracelet that represents the beautiful weapon our favorites wield on a daily basis: the diamond tennis racket.

So will you be blinging while you’re swinging?

Andy Murray will.