Tennis Bracelets: A Comprehensive Buying Guide

Tennis bracelets have enjoyed enduring popularity for over twenty years. Viewed as an investment piece, they are popular amongst celebrities and royalty alike. Our definitive guide will help you understand what a tennis bracelet is, what to look for when purchasing one, as well as when and where to purchase the perfect diamond tennis bracelet.

What is a Tennis Bracelet?

A tennis bracelet is a flexible bracelet, usually made with platinum or gold metal featuring one or multiple rows of diamonds.

Origin Story: Why is it Called a ‘Tennis Bracelet?’

chris evert why is it called tennis bracelet illustration

The name came about in 1987 when tennis player Chris Evert lost a diamond bracelet during a match in the US Open. The match was postponed while she searched for her bracelet, a search that was televised around the world sparking a desire for the distinctive diamond bracelets which became known as ‘tennis bracelets’.

What to Look For In A Tennis Bracelet

Most designs contain a single row (or loop) of diamonds, but some styles include two or three rows of stones. The diamond cut is usually round, but occasionally emerald or princess cuts are used.

Different Types of Settings

There are three different types of settings to choose from: prong, channel and bezel. Each type of setting does its jobs of holding the diamonds securely in place on the bracelet, but as each setting differs slightly, the overall look and feel of a bracelet changes based on how the stone is held.

Does it really matter which setting is used? No–this something that comes down to personal preference. Here are the main types of settings:

Prong

In this setting, 3 or 4 prongs per diamond are used to hold the stone in place. It’s a popular choice as it is secure, but allows as much light as possible to pass through the diamond.

Channel

Two thin rows of metal hold the stone on either side (with the stones in the middle), and the diamonds fit tightly together.

Bezel (or Half Bezel)

Metal surrounds each of the stones. In the case of a half bezel, metal is only connected to two sides of the stone.

The Different Types of Metal

There are four main metal types and colors that are used for tennis bracelets: platinum, white gold, yellow gold and rose gold.

In choosing the type of material your bracelet is made from, the biggest considerations are color  and budget. Platinum–the most expensive of the metals–is silver in color, but that’s where the similarities to silver, the metal, end. Unlike silver, platinum is much more durable. It resists scratches and corrosion. It is also rarer, which is why it can be so pricey.

Yellow gold, rose gold and white gold are simply combinations of pure gold mixed with other metal alloys. In the case of rose gold, copper is used and mixed with yellow gold to give it its pink and rosy hue. In white gold,  gold is mixed with a metal like silver or nickel. Yellow gold is, similarly, pure gold mixed with metals like zinc or copper (but not enough to change its color, as with rose gold).

Choosing a metal is usually done in balancing style preferences with budget considerations.

When you see a number beside the type of gold, like 18kt gold, that indicates how much pure gold is used in the mixture of metals. The amount of pure gold in a piece of jewelry is measured in karats, which is based on 24 parts per piece of jewelry.

For instance:

18kt gold means that 18 parts of 24 are pure gold (the rest of the weight is made up of the different metals discussed above). 18/24 = .75, or 75% gold.

Tennis Bracelet Stone: Diamonds and Others

There are often upwards of 50 small diamonds set in a tennis bracelet. The number of stones, as well as their small size, make certification impossible. This is why buying a tennis bracelet from a jeweler with a stellar reputation is so important.

When you evaluate the diamonds in the bracelet yourself, look for brilliance (or sparkle). The diamonds  should look clean–with no noticeable blemishes–and they should be white in color, not yellow.

For those who want the timeless style of a tennis bracelet, but cannot afford a several thousand-dollar piece, there are bracelets available that contain all the grace and elegance of a real tennis bracelet using simulated diamonds. A simulated diamond is a clear stone–usually cubic zirconia or moissanite, sometimes quartz–that has a similar appearance to diamonds, but different physical and chemical makeup.

Sizing Your Bracelet

A tennis bracelet should be loose enough that it can move freely, but not so loose that it can slide off. The general rule is that when you can fit one finger between the bracelet and your wrist, it is the perfect fit. It is typically worn on the left-wrist as most people are right-handed, which means that the bracelet is subject to less wear and tear.

The best way to measure is by wrapping a tape measure loosely around the person’s wrist (this can also be done with string or ribbon and measured against a ruler afterward.) If it is a surprise gift purchase, then look at the average size and go from there. 7 – 7.5 Inches is the most popular bracelet size for women.

When to Buy a Tennis Bracelet

lady wearing a tennis bracelet

Tennis bracelets are both a statement piece that draws attention and a stylish classic that will be passed on to future generations. This makes them a perfect gift to mark important milestones and annual celebrations in life.

Important Milestones

Graduation, from high school, college or medical school to celebrate a significant achievement

Wedding Day gift, from a husband to his bride to mark the start of an exciting journey

Birth of a baby, a much-anticipated event, a tennis bracelet is often given to honor the mother

Annual Celebrations

Birthdays, to mark a special day in the life of someone you love

Anniversaries, celebrating significant milestones such as a 10th wedding anniversary

Important Holidays, such as Christmas or Hanukkah

Valentine’s Day, let her know how you feel with a diamond tennis bracelet

Mother’s Day, moms are at the heart of every family, and a carefully chosen piece of jewelry lets her know how much you appreciate her

Where To Purchase A Diamond Tennis Bracelet

Diamond tennis bracelets are a stylish, timeless addition to any jewelry collection which is why they are often given for anniversaries, holidays and important milestones. Take time to have a look at the different types of tennis bracelets so that you can find the style and setting that you like best.

Check out our tennis bracelet selection here.

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