The History of the Beloved Tennis Bracelet

An iconic piece we all love today.

bride wearing a tennis bracelet

Photo by KT Merry

Diamond tennis bracelets are back in a big way, and we couldn't be more excited. The accessory hit peak stride and rose to pop culture super-status thanks to Grand Slam ace Chris Evert, who favored wearing a diamond line bracelet on the court. 

Today, the tennis bracelet's simple and elegant beauty is a coveted staple, becoming a top fine jewelry trend that has regularly made its way down the aisle. Not only is it an iconic piece for any wedding ensemble, but it's one that has the ability to become a treasured heirloom item in any precious gem collection. 

Meet the Expert

Margot McNaull is a jewelry designer and the founder of Stór Jewelry Co. McNaull specializes in engagement rings and bespoke fine jewelry pieces imbued with a modern-meets-vintage sensibility.

“I don’t think there’s anything more perfect for a bridal look than a diamond tennis bracelet,” says Margot McNaull, jewelry designer and owner of Stór Jewelry Co. “A clean and simple row of diamonds on your wrist is the perfect partner for every style of wedding dress. I love the look of layering two tennis bracelets in different widths to really make a dazzling style statement.”

Below, with the help of McNaull, we break down the particulars of the tennis bracelet including its history, current revival, and return to "it-accessory" status.

What Is a Tennis Bracelet?

“Think of the tennis bracelet as being equivalent to an eternity band, but for the wrist,” explains McNaull. “The bracelet is comprised of a setting of continuous diamonds, of equal size, which encircles the wrist. A classic tennis bracelet would showcase an all-diamond look, with very little visible metal between each stone much like a pavé ring setting."

According to McNaull, white gold—coupled with round brilliant cut or emerald cut diamonds—has always been a popular choice for this accessory, as the white gold hue enhances the diamonds with a sleek fluid effect. “White gold is the only way to make the diamonds look as though they are literally floating on the wrist,” she shares.

This History Behind Its Name

According to McNaull, the legacy accessory was first known as an eternity bracelet. The style became popular in the Roaring 20s as women would regularly wear it paired with their fanciest dresses, for the most elaborate parties and occasions. However, the style was later rebranded as the tennis bracelet in 1978 when tennis pro Chris Evert chose to wear the diamond accessory during her matches. Though the seven-time, World No. 1 women’s tennis player shocked fans and disrupted the jewelry industry, it took the world by storm and as they say, the rest was history. Today, players including Serena Williams are regularly seen on the court sporting the iconic design.

Why Is the Tennis Bracelet Popluar?

The versatility of this precious piece is what makes it a classic and a popular choice for everyone. “It is rare such a luxurious design can be pulled off so beautifully worn formally or casually,” McNaull says. “Chris Evert changed how the world looked at wearing fine jewelry, and suddenly women began wearing a diamond bracelet with everything from dresses to sweats and jeans. I personally wear my tennis bracelets—and tennis necklace—all the time, but I do consciously put them on when I need a little extra something in my look.”

Modern Iterations of the Tennis Bracelet

Though white gold is the metal of choice for these popular pieces, for those searching for an alternative look, tennis bracelets set in warm gold metal tones have been growing in popularity. "Bezel settings in yellow gold are very popular now, and so is sporting multiple tennis bracelets in multi-metal tones,” the jeweler highlights.

Additionally, famous faces including Hailey and Justin Bieber, Drake, Billie Eilish, and TikTok superstar Tinx have all been wearing tennis bracelets in new ways—opting for a stacked and layered look for a more glamorous aesthetic. If you want the big bling effect but don’t have a celebrity budget to spend on it, McNaull suggests shopping for a tennis bracelet with a cupcake setting. “This wraps the diamonds in a very thin metal pouch like a cupcake wrapper and provides elevation to the stones contained in the bracelet. This setting makes smaller diamonds pop and seriously shine. As jewelers, it also allows us a beautiful option to offer the sought-after tennis bracelet at a very affordable price point.”

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