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Diamond tennis bracelets are stylish and sophisticated, a piece of jewelry that goes with literally any outfit. Whether on the tennis courts or a red carpet event, this jewelry staple easily blends in. They’re classic and timeless, making a high-quality tennis bracelet heirloom-worthy.
The idea of buying the perfect diamond tennis bracelet can be daunting because after all, it is a costly purchase and you want to get it right the first time. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know on how to buy the perfect diamond tennis bracelet for you.
Origin of Tennis Bracelets
Some pieces of jewelry have unusual names, and it’s not always obvious where these names originated. A tennis bracelet is a beautiful example of this; why on earth would such a delicate diamond bracelet be called a tennis bracelet especially when it doesn’t have anything to do with tennis?
The tennis bracelet got its name from the bracelet that American tennis player Chris Evert wore while she competed in the 1978 U.S. Open. During the match, her George Bedewi diamond line bracelet fell off onto the court. Evert shouted, “I’ve dropped my tennis bracelet”. The match was quickly paused until the bracelet was found and soon after jewelers were overwhelmed with requests for tennis bracelets. Since this match diamond line bracelets have been called tennis bracelets. However, since then the fastenings of these bracelets haves been strengthened with a more secure clasp so similar incidents will not happen again.
Choosing the Diamond Color
The classic tennis bracelet typically features colorless diamonds. When choosing the color grade of your diamond tennis bracelet, a couple of factors must be considered.
First of all, if the metal of the bracelet is a warm color like yellow or rose gold, it’s fine to drop down the color scale and choose diamonds with warm tones. You could go so far down as K or M grade and still have a gorgeous looking bracelet. However, if you opt for white gold or platinum, diamonds with yellowish tints will be very noticeable and will not look flattering.
In this case, diamonds higher up on the scale are the best. Go for colorless or near colorless stones. Remember that every grade up will cost significantly more than the previous grade (all else being equal) while the difference in appearance is often barely noticeable. So for example, we suggest going for F diamonds rather than D.
Although a traditional tennis bracelet is usually set with white diamonds, fancy colored and vibrant gemstones can make beautiful and striking jewelry which looks more contemporary than the colorless diamonds. We love mixing colorless diamonds with another precious gemstone such as sapphires or emeralds as the white stones are beautifully contrasted against these stones.
A pricier but very eye-catching option is to choose a bracelet with multicolor diamonds, like this one from James Allen. Colored diamonds are now very popular as more people turn to different styles and non-traditional gemstones.
To find out more about diamond color grades and the other 4Cs read our comprehensive article.
Choosing Clarity of the Diamond
Although the clarity of the diamonds in a tennis bracelet is important, the color grade and cut quality are more important to get a dazzling bracelet.
As each diamond is small in size and carat weight, it will not be easy to tell the difference between an internally flawless and flawless diamond without expert training and equipment. We recommend getting a tennis bracelet with “eye clean” diamonds which means any blemishes or imperfections affecting the clarity will not be noticeable to the naked eye. This can help when working with a budget and without affecting the visible beauty of the bracelet.
For example this bracelet has diamonds with S1 and S2 clarity grades, but it is difficult to notice any imperfections when looking at the bracelet as a whole. The size of the diamonds does matter for clarity grades as with larger diamonds it’s easier to the see any imperfections as the same clarity grade on a smaller diamond.
Choosing the Size of the Bracelet
Diamond tennis bracelets are not supposed to be oversized, too tight or too loose on your wrist. The idea is that they should fit neatly around your wrist so that the line of diamonds looks graceful and endless.
It is easier to measure a bracelet size than it is to measure a ring size. You can measure your wrist by using a flexible tape measure or use a piece of string and compare this to a ruler. The length of a tennis bracelet is easy to adjust as a jeweler can add or remove a link to get a perfect size.
Now we’ve measured the wrist we can think about the size of the diamonds.
We recommend choosing a diamond size that complements your wrist size. No one wants to look like they are wearing an oversized blingy piece or that the diamonds look scrawny rather than dainty.
However, you should also consider your preferences. If you’re into minimalist designs, a diamond tennis bracelet with small diamonds like this one will be more suited to your tastes. However, if you like a statement piece, a bracelet like this may be more suitable.
Choosing the Metal
When you’re choosing the metal for your diamond tennis bracelets, there are lots of choices depending on the diamonds color and personal taste. The color of the metal is the most important regarding design.
Yellow gold tennis bracelets are unique and not the traditional diamond bracelet. They have a classic, traditional feel to them and look very elegant. Gold complements warm skin tones while rose gold goes well with any skin tone. You can opt for yellow tinted white diamonds with your yellow gold bracelet for a unique design. As mentioned above, this is a great way to cut down on the price of your bracelet.
For everyday use gold and platinum are ideal. This includes 14K and 18K gold, which is strong enough to be worn regularly. However, platinum offers more strength and is perfect for someone who wants to wear their bracelet every day without worrying about the bracelet breaking. The only trade-off is that platinum is much more expensive than gold.
If you’re looking for a mix of metal durability and price you can’t go wrong with white gold as this is more durable then yellow gold but not as expensive as platinum.
Uniformity of the Diamonds
The uniformity of diamonds in a tennis bracelet may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you’re thinking about buying one, but it certainly makes a significant difference. As a tennis bracelet can have up to 55 diamonds, it’s essential to make sure that each one looks the same to the naked eye and no single diamond should stand out from the others.
As the diamonds in a tennis bracelet are small in individual carat weight, it could cost more than the bracelet itself to get each diamond certified and therefore the entire bracelet certified. This is why each diamond needs to look uniform as there is no guarantee they will have the same color of clarity grade.
Tennis Bracelets Styles and Settings
If you thought a diamond tennis bracelet consisted of just one style, a series of round diamonds set close together, think again! Two tennis bracelets with different diamond settings will look very distinct from each other.
The most popular diamond settings for tennis bracelets is channel, prong and bezel settings. Channel settings are open on either side of the diamond so that the metal holds the diamond in place at the top and bottom. Channel settings allow plenty of light to reflect on to the diamonds and can make the diamonds look bigger as the bracelet looks like one continuous loop of diamonds.
Prong settings are a beautiful combination of holding the diamonds securely in place while allowing lots of light to reach the diamonds. For a tennis bracelet, four prongs are very secure and still allows plenty of light to shine on the diamonds pavilion.
Bezel settings like this one are less popular as they are a more traditional setting. However, a bezel setting is the most secure as each diamond is surrounded by metal firmly holding the diamond in place. Although bezel settings are very secure they are not as popular as the settings can obscure a lot of the light reaching the diamond.
The other way that diamond tennis bracelets can vary is by the shape of the diamonds. The most popular diamond shapes for a tennis bracelet is the round cut diamond. Princess and emerald cut can also be popular however unusual diamond shapes such as pear, and marquise are less common.
When choosing the style of your tennis bracelet also have a look at the type of links the bracelet has and if you are happy with the clasp. The clasp should not open easily but should also be discreet so that the bracelet looks like an endless line of diamonds. Make sure you spend some time opening and closing the bracelet to see how easy the clasp opens.
How and When To Wear a Tennis Bracelet
Although you might not wear your tennis bracelet on the center court, they make excellent jewelry for everyday wear and formal occasions. The simple but striking design means that this bracelet compliments other jewelry. Tennis bracelets pair well with diamond stud earrings for an understated yet chic look. We also think diamond tennis bracelets look sophisticated and chic when worn alone.
Whether you pair it with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt or a red carpet worthy little black dress, this piece of jewelry is going to suit.
If you’re wondering how to pair your tennis bracelet with your watch, make sure that the watch is nice and dressy. Don’t pair it with a plastic, fitness watch for example as that will simply downgrade the diamond bracelet. Rather, choose a watch that matches the style of your bracelet.
There is no rule regarding which hand to wear your bracelet on. Most people wear it on their left hand, like they would a watch. However, this is a matter of choice and comfort so go with what feels right for you.
How to Take Care of Your Tennis Bracelet
With all fine jewelry, the best way to take good care of it is to have each piece regularly serviced every few years. While this can be an ongoing cost, it is well worth the effort to ensure that the bracelet remains strong and clean.
You can also clean your bracelet at home to ensure that it remains sparkling. For this, the best way to clean it is by using soap and warm water with a soft cloth. It’s best to avoid using an ultrasonic cleaner as the intense vibrations can put the diamonds at risk of falling out of their setting. Harsh detergents and cleaners should also be avoided.
Affordable Alternatives to a Diamond Tennis Bracelet
If your heart is set on a tennis bracelet but it’s a bit beyond your budget, you can always opt for a diamond tennis bracelet alternative.
One of the best options is to go for a bracelet made of lab-created diamonds. Lab diamonds are not fake diamonds; they are actual diamonds that have been cultured in tightly controlled environments by skilled technicians. The best thing about these diamonds is that they are 100% real, but can be up to 80% cheaper than a mined diamond. Here’s a great example of a lab-created diamond tennis bracelet.
Moissanite Tennis Bracelet
Moissanite tennis bracelets look exactly like diamonds and it can be impossible to tell the two apart. Moissanite is a gemstone in its own right and is increasing in popularity as a more affordable and ethical alternative to diamonds.
White Sapphire Bracelet
White sapphire is highly durable and very similar in appearance to diamonds, especially in small sizes. They are also very affordable. For an even more affordable option, choose a lab-created white sapphire bracelet like this one.
Cubic Zirconia Bracelet
Another good way to go is to opt for a high-quality cubic zirconia bracelet, like this one. Make sure that the piece has been well-crafted and that the metal is solid and durable, like silver. Just because you opt for a cheaper stone doesn’t mean the bracelet has to look less than perfect. The high standards of appearance and durability still applies to ensure that you look a million bucks every time you wear the bracelet.
Where to Buy a Diamond Tennis Bracelet
Buying your diamond tennis bracelet at a brick and mortar store gives you the advantage of trying on the piece and seeing how you feel about it. However, taking your search online gives you endless options, and you can cherry pick the best price and bracelet to match you.
If you decide to shop online, it’s extremely important that you see high quality images or videos of the actual diamond bracelet and not simply go with stock photos. View the bracelet carefully prior to purchasing and check with the sales team if you have any questions. Remember that you will not be given a certificate for your diamond tennis bracelet so you’ll have to go by what you see.
Whichever retailer you decide to go with, always make sure that they are licensed, reputable and have great reviews. They should be specialized in what they do and provide excellent customer service and help you with the process.
Here are the retailers we recommend for diamond tennis bracelets:
- James Allen offers very competitive prices without needing to compromise on the quality. They provide high quality videos and images of their diamonds, so you get to really inspect the item properly. Their HD images and videos are ground-breaking and are the next best thing to seeing the diamonds in person.
- Brian Gavin has a stunning collection of uniquely designed diamond tennis bracelets. Their cut quality is among the best and most of their tennis bracelets are crafted using excellent diamonds.
- Blue Nile also offers you a stunning range of diamond tennis bracelets. They have very competitive prices and good service. They have images and videos for almost all their inventory and great after sales service as well.
For detailed reviews, check out our article outlining the pros and cons of the top online diamond retailers.