Tennis Bracelet History: How A Jewelry Icon Made Its Mark
Written by Anna Currell
April 11, 2023
If you’re a fashion enthusiast, a jewelry collector, or you’re following Tennis Core on TikTok, you’ve probably noticed the iconic tennis bracelet on the wrists of athletes, models, and influencers lately. But do you know how this piece of jewelry became so popular? Let’s dive into some tennis bracelet history to find out how this piece of jewelry became a classic.
What is a Tennis Bracelet?
A tennis bracelet is a type of bracelet defined by a continuous row of small diamonds or other precious gemstones. It’s usually thin and flexible, which allows it to drape comfortably around the wrist, unlike a solid, sturdy bangle. The stones are held in place by prongs and typically set very closely together to increase the bracelet’s flexibility. Tennis bracelets are elegant and delicate, so you can wear them on their own or work them into a stack with other lovely bracelets.
Tennis Bracelet History
The item we know as a tennis bracelet has been around for over a century, if you can believe it. But it wasn’t always called a tennis bracelet — the name is a more recent development. Tennis bracelet history starts in the roaring twenties, when they were more commonly seen dangling from wrists at cocktail parties than on tennis courts. The glittery piece fit right in with the glitz and glam style of that time period. But it wasn’t until much later that the bracelet got its name (or its fame).
How Did the Tennis Bracelet Get Its Name?
The tennis bracelet emerged into pop culture and solidified its moniker thanks to American tennis star Chris Evert. Evert was known for her elegant style on and off the court, and she often wore a diamond bracelet during her matches. During the 1978 U.S. Open, Evert's trademark diamond bracelet fell off her wrist and onto the court in the middle of a match. She immediately asked for a pause in the match so that she could search for it. This incident sparked a flurry of media attention, and the style has been known as the “tennis bracelet” ever since.
Tennis Bracelets Today
Since Chris Evert popularized it, the tennis bracelet has become a classic staple of women's jewelry both on and off the court. Today, tennis bracelets are available in a range of styles, and can feature different diamond shapes, metal types, and widths. You can wear one as an elegant, luxurious accessory at a formal wedding just as easily as you can sport one while playing tennis at the country club. With the Tennis Core aesthetic becoming a viral fashion trend on TikTok, tennis attire has secured its spot in the world of athleisure and become a popular jewelry item among Gen Z and millennials.
How to Care for a Tennis Bracelet
It’s important to take care of your tennis bracelet to ensure that it stays in great condition no matter how you wear it. Here are a few things you can do to increase the longevity of your tennis bracelet:
Clean it regularly at home
Like all fine jewelry, tennis bracelets require care and maintenance to keep them looking their best. To clean your tennis bracelet, mix a small amount of mild soap with warm water and gently scrub the bracelet with a soft-bristled toothbrush to get any dirt between the crevices of the prongs or links. Rinse the bracelet under warm water and pat dry with a soft cloth.
Take it off before jumping in the water
Be sure to take off your tennis bracelet before swimming or showering. Excess exposure to water can damage your bracelet by dulling the gemstones or eroding the metal. When your bracelet gets wet — whether it’s from sweat while playing tennis or from water while washing your hands — make sure to dry it thoroughly to avoid any long-term damage.
Store it safely when off the court
Be sure to store your tennis bracelet in a safe spot. Very high or very low temperatures can damage any fine jewelry, so keeping your tennis bracelet somewhere dry and cool, like in a drawer or on a shelf away from a window, can help keep it safe. Be sure to wipe your bracelet with a soft cloth at the end of each wear to stop residue from building up over time and leading to tarnish.
An ill-fitting tennis bracelet can be a problem — a bracelet that’s too big can fall off on the court (and we’ve seen the history that made) and a too-tight bracelet is just uncomfortable. To get it right, send your tennis bracelet to our team of expert jewelers at Quick Jewelry Repairs; we’ll help you find the perfect fit.