As Wimbledon, the most exclusive sporting event of the summer, quickly approaches, Sotheby’s Diamonds takes a look at the chicest way to accessorise your centre court attire: the tennis bracelet. Its history is one immortalised by world-ranked tennis star Chris Evert in 1987 during the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. An accomplished athlete, Evert won eighteen Grand Slam single tournaments in her career, including three Wimbledon Championships.
Known for her chic on-court attire of delicate lace dresses and elegant accessories, “The Ice Maiden” was one of the most talked about style stars. Her signature accessory was an eternity bracelet: a flexible, serpentine design of diamonds that provided flexibility even while landing her opponent a perfectly placed backhand shot. Popular in the 1920s, this elegant bracelet was worn by fashionable women at the time, who would stack them in multiples on their wrists.
CHRIS EVERT DURING THE LADIES SINGLES SEMI-FINAL AT THE WIMBLEDON LAWN TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS HELD AT THE ALL ENGLAND CLUB IN LONDON, JULY 1980. EVERT WON 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. PHOTO BY BOB THOMAS/GETTY IMAGES.
During an exceptionally long rally in the 1987 Grand Slam, Chris’s diamond eternity bracelet snapped mid-game. Refusing to continue playing until her bracelet was recovered, officials halted the game till, at last, it was found. The elegant bracelet immediately gained notoriety; jewellers everywhere began receiving requests for diamond “tennis bracelets.” Despite the bracelet’s name throughout history, its timeless and classic design are sure to been seen from the grandstands of Wimbledon this year.
DIAMOND TENNIS RACQUET EARRINGS (LEFT). AVAILABLE NOW AT SOTHEBY’S DIAMONDS. $130,000. DIAMOND RUBBER BRACELET (RIGHT). AVAILABLE NOW AT SOTHEBY’S DIAMONDS. PRICE UPON REQUEST.
Almost 30 years later, Evert’s game-on style resonates with the great female tennis stars today. From Serena Williams’s outrageous five-carat diamond chandelier earrings, to Caroline Wozniacki’s diamond bezelled Rolex wristwatch, the queens of the court embody athletic glamour. Ditch the spandex and opt for feminine summer whites and dazzle in diamonds – on or off the court this summer. If you still need to purchase the ultimate courtside accessory, visit Sotheby’s Diamonds at 34-35 New Bond Street through 6 July to view our collection.
Lead image: Serena Williams of the United States during the Ladies Singles final match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain on day fourteen of the 2016 French Open at Roland Garros on June 4, 2016 in Paris, France. Photo by Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto via Getty Images.