As the sun blazes down upon centre court, a thundering roar erupts from the crowd. It is a typically hot late summer afternoon at the 1984 US Open, and Tennis great Chris Evert has just won set point, continuing to cement her legacy as one of the all-time greats of women’s tennis history.

Diamond Bracelet $70,000 - 90,000
Diamond Bracelet $70,000 – 90,000

This day, however, another star is born. Elegantly glittering on her wrist is a single line of diamonds. Popularly referred to as a ‘line bracelet’, the style dates back to the 1920s. The pairing of the diamonds in a more causal setting had gained traction in the mid-1970s, notably when Elsa Peretti released her ‘Diamonds by the Yard’ collection for Tiffany & Co. The ‘throw on and go’ mentality had seen diamonds no longer reserved exclusively for evening wear, but styled with jeans and t-shirts, or in Evert’s case, tennis whites.

Suddenly, a hush moves across the audience – the star has dropped to her knees, an ill-fated injury perhaps? Or some new tennis

ritual destined to be incorporated into a million amateur routines? The crowd leans forward straining to make sense of what they see on the court below, she seems to be frantically searching for something, but what? Her diamond bracelet of course. During a quick return the bracelet had come loose and fallen to the ground, suddenly diamonds are the priority. Play is halted, but Evert quickly finds her gleaming treasure and flashes her brilliant smile as play continues.

At the news conference afterwards, reporters push Evert to reveal the reason behind her mid-match antics. She waves her arm showing the almost lost item, “This, my tennis bracelet!”, a response that will forever immortalise the design in jewellery history.

 

Chris Evert, 1981 French Open
Chris Evert, 1981 French Open / Alamy

The tennis bracelet to this day remains a staple in the collection of all fashion forward women, an irreplaceable addition to the art of sartorial dressing. The simplicity of the design allows for layering with existing pieces. A popular combination today is stacking it together with creations of the same era, such as the iconic designs of LOVE and Juste un Clou by Aldo Cipullo for Cartier.

On the induction of Evert into the Tennis Hall of Fame, she was presented with a scintillating tennis bracelet designed by Kwiat totalling over 8 carats; a gift truly worthy of a woman who altered the course of jewellery history.

LAUREN BOUSTRIDGE / Senior Jewels Specialist

July 2022