What Is A Tennis Bracelet & Other FAQs?

What Is A Tennis Bracelet & Other FAQs?

Bryn Wakefield Bryn Wakefield
8 minute read

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As is common in the jewellery world, one of the most common and popular forms of jewellery, the tennis bracelet, has a confusing name with surprising origins.

The history of jewellery is easily forgotten and often misremembered. I mean, did you know that the curb chain got its name from the flat chain links around a horse’s muzzle? Or that the single-diamond solitaire ring gets its name from the Latin word ‘solitarius’, meaning ‘alone’? 

At the very least, the origins of the tennis bracelet name is more straightforward. As you might expect, this type of bracelet gets its name from its connection to the sport of tennis and specifically to women's tour star Chris Evert.

So, what is a tennis bracelet? First let's clarify what makes a bracelet a ‘tennis bracelet’, plus we'll give you a guide on how to wear this classic style later on. 


What is a tennis bracelet?

A tennis bracelet is a delicate bracelet of small diamonds all set in a line. Because it is usually diamonds that feature in a tennis bracelet, they were originally (and are sometimes still) called ‘diamond line bracelets’. 

At its most basic, a tennis bracelet will have diamonds set across its entire surface, all with the same colour, cut, clarity and carat. (If you’re interested in how diamonds are graded you can learn more about the 4Cs of diamonds in our Diamond Buyers Guide.)

The concept of the tennis bracelet might be simple, but it’s certainly highly versatile. You can find tennis bracelets crafted from all sorts of precious metals, like sterling silver, yellow gold, white gold and even more unique picks like rose gold or platinum. There isn’t a rule for the kind of diamond you wear either, so you might be able to find black, yellow or pink diamond tennis bracelets if you’re lucky. 

The tennis bracelet is an amazing mix of elegance and minimalism with luxury style and taste. It’s perhaps no surprise it found its way onto the wrists of some pretty big tennis stars.

what is a tennis bracelet. diamonds on wrist

Why is it called a tennis bracelet?

The tennis bracelet got its name from players like Chris Evert who would wear diamonds while playing in tournaments. Back in the 70s and 80s when the name was supposedly coined, watching tennis players coated in expensive jewellery was a lot less common than it is now. There weren’t too many gold chains swinging around during serves like you might see from a Nick Kgyrios today.

In fact, there’s some debate whether the ‘tennis bracelet” got its name in the early 70s simply from because it was such a jarring visual - an athlete covered in diamonds - or because of a particular event involving Chris Evert at the US Open sometime later.

Chris had been sporting the diamond bracelet for years during her 70s playing days, but her jewellery was truly thrown into the spotlight when a match had to be stopped because of it. The infamous bracelet slipped off her wrist during play and broke, scattering diamonds across the hard court surface. Some say this was the moment the tennis bracelet name was born. 

Most articles you see will state that this event happened in 1987, which seems plausible given she was still a top player at the alte stage of her career. However, when asked for comment in a recent publication, Chris Evert shared that the event happened in 1978 in the early round of the US Open. We’ll take her story for the closest to fact, and there was simply a mixup of ‘87 and ‘78 along the way.  Read about her comments here: How the tennis bracelet got its name.

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What is a diamond tennis bracelet?

A tennis bracelet is also sometimes called a diamond tennis bracelet. The good news for us is that they are exactly the same, as a true tennis bracelet will always contain diamonds. It’s possible you might see a ‘tennis bracelet’ with cubic zirconia which will have a very similar look you’re likely to enjoy if you already love diamonds. You can even find tennis bracelets with gorgeous lab grown diamonds that won’t set you back as much. 

The iconic tennis bracelet just wouldn’t be complete without the sparkling diamond style, though you can definitely find other gemstone bracelets with a similar appearance. In fact, we’ve got a great collection of diamond bracelets right here if you want a look.

What is a tennis bracelet. Diamond bracelet on wrist.

Are tennis bracelets unisex?

A tennis bracelet can be worn by a woman or man - the classic style is for everyone. While you might imagine the tennis bracelet mostly a girls jewellery piece because of the style’s origins, the slim diamond bracelet is a classic mens piece too. 

Tennis bracelets themselves aren’t usually too extravagant or busy, which fits the sophisticated, minimalist approach to mens jewellery. Diamonds are often worn by men, from international sports stars to any kind of guy who likes to add a little more flair to their look. 

I suppose it goes without saying that tennis bracelets work great with women of any age. Tennis star Chris Evert sported the look throughout her near 20 year career, testament to the timelessness of the look, and many more women's players have followed suit. 

3 ways to style a tennis bracelet

Time for the fun part. We’ve been through the whats and whys, and now if you are looking to try a tennis bracelet yourself, it’s time to give you some inspiration.

Tennis bracelets are incredibly versatile, and men and women alike are seen sporting these simple yet elegant diamond bracelets on a daily basis. There’s plenty of great looks you can pull of with a tennis bracelet, and here are just a few we love: 

Pair with a dress watch

A tennis bracelet with a fashionable timepiece, especially one with a gold or silver body, can leave a real lasting impression. The added luxury glimmer and sophistication that a row of diamonds offer to a dressy watch is paramount. 

Citizen watches are a great choice to pair with tennis bracelets for their precious metal tones and slim fit that pairs well with bracelets.

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Style with other bracelets 

Tennis bracelets are perfect for layering with other bracelets on your wrist. Because they’re slim and elegant, and are so often set with neutral clear diamonds, these stunning diamond bracelets are amazing complementary pieces. 

Accentuate a vibrantly colured bracelet set with gemstones or embellished with patterns by pairing them with a slender tennis bracelet. Or, choose a couple tennis bracelets to place around a bigger bracelet. Go ahead and experiment with whatever combination you can find.

what is a tennis bracelet? layered tennis bracelets

Try a minimalist look

You can easily wear a tennis bracelet on its own to add a little bit of elegant style. The full diamond look is enough to carry your outfit to a new level, and looks especially great with smart-casual or formal wear. 

what is a tennis bracelet. tennis bracelet on wrist

How to wear a tennis bracelet with a watch

As we’ve mentioned, a tennis bracelet can play the perfect partner to a dress watch. If you are going to wear a tennis bracelet and watch on the same wrist, then it’s best to go for a watch with a narrow face that keeps the sophisticated slender look. Again, we recommend a timepiece with a gold or silver body if you love to tie luxury-wear into your attire.

Of course, you can always pair your tennis bracelet and timepiece on separate wrists. That way you can go for a round dress watch like an elegant Seiko Coutura watch. On your bracelet wrist, you can go for the layered look or keep it just on its own, either way it’ll add great balance to your apparel.

 what is a tennis bracelet. watch and tennis bracelet


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