When tennis icon Chris Evert looks back on that piece of jewelry, she describes it as a “diamond line bracelet.” As the Queen of Courts tells it, her trademark piece gained its famous description as a tennis bracelet only because she wore it during her championship U.S. women’s singles game.
With her blond ponytail, dramatic dating life, and winning record, Christine Marie Evert became the world’s top female athlete for good reason. But the one recognition that eluded her was credit for the tennis bracelet, she says.
Now, thanks to a partnership with jewelry designer Monica Rich Kosann, the Chris Evert tennis bracelet is “finally authentic,” Evert says. What once was a generic term in the jewelry industry now firmly belongs back in Evert’s court.
“I have always wanted to have a serious voice in the tennis bracelet category and share my side of the story,” Evert says in an email interview with JCK. “What makes this tennis bracelet collection finally authentic is that it tells the true origin story of the tennis bracelet from my perspective, where it all began.”
And while the duo has yet to play tennis together, Kosann says, they were an ideal pair when working together on this project.
“We wanted the collection to be authentic so Chris’ involvement each step of the way was key. Our brand is rooted in the idea that every woman has a story to tell,” Kosann says. “Chris’ involvement in the design and branding allowed us to bring her story to light.”
Kosann and Evert say the tennis bracelet was born in 1978 when Evert lost her beloved diamond bracelet during the U.S. Open. Officials halted play until the champion could find her bracelet, and, unbeknownst to Evert, a jewelry style was born.
Evert says she reached out to Kosann to create these pieces because she admires the jewelry designer’s work and ethos.
“It was so much fun working with Monica,” Evert says. “I love how it is centered on women’s empowerment, and she reinvents authentic and iconic jewelry ideas for a new generation. I wanted an American woman designer to bring this founding story to life.”
Kosann says she was “flattered and humbled” to work with Evert, also famously known as Chrissie, and her team.
“She is an icon, and it was such a pleasure working with her,” Kosann says. “For decades, the story has been woven into the industry’s creation of the tennis bracelet category, but the woman long reported at the center has not had a voice in that conversation. We were excited to help give her a voice to that moment and translate it into a new collection for a new generation.”
Kosann says she incorporated Evert’s storytelling into her designs, including a pear-shape diamond or sapphire drop for the bead of sweat, an emerald or green tsavorite accent for the green court, and white lines of natural diamonds for the 18k gold bracelets or white sapphires/rock crystals for the sterling silver bracelets.
Evert’s personal style and that of the Monica Rich Kosann brand also play heavily in the partnership, design, and marketing. For example, the trademarked branding for the collection is: “The Tennis Bracelet—CE. Born 1978. Finally Authentic.” The overall collection includes 13 designs with prices ranging from $725 to $36,700.
The photo shoot concept and execution for the campaign was created and shot by Danielle Kosann, artistic director of Monica Rich Kosann. The campaign is rooted in 1970s and 1980s tennis fashion, reinforcing the collection’s authenticity. And most of the wardrobe used in the campaign comprises genuine pieces owned and worn by Chris Evert during her playing career.
The Tennis Bracelet—CE Collection is available online and in Monica Rich Kosann’s Columbus Circle and Hudson Yards stores in New York City.
Top: Tennis pro and female athlete extraordinaire Chris Evert reached out to jewelry designer Monica Rich Kosann to create a specialty line of tennis bracelets honoring Evert’s original eternal or diamond line bracelet, which Evert famously wore during her victory at the U.S. Open in 1978 (photos courtesy of Monica Rich Kosann).@jckmagazine
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