Few events have profoundly affected the jewelry industry as much as the day tennis star Chris Evert dropped her diamond bracelet in front of thousands of spectators and millions of television viewers. Because of one bad clasp, the classic diamond line bracelet, newly nicknamed a “tennis bracelet,” suddenly topped Everywoman’s jewelry wish list. Almost two decades later, the search for another product with that kind of instantaneous, universal appeal remains the jewelry industry’s Holy Grail.
Passing fads, like hoop earring charms or “Y” necklaces, each engendered hopeful speculation that this might finally be The Next Tennis Bracelet (TNTB). Alas, none was, and each faded quietly after a brief spate of popularity. The diamond solitaire necklace perhaps has come closer than anything to rivaling the tennis bracelet’s iconic status, but there’s a critical difference. According to JCK’s most recent research on the solitaire, many are remount sales, not new diamond sales. In that same article (June 1997), some jewelers suggested that diamond station necklaces might be a contender for the TNTB title. After two years, we have not seen evidence that they have reached, or will reach, the tennis bracelet’s level of market penetration. Current TNTB speculation centers on diamond illusion necklaces like the ones introduced by New York designer Jeffrey Robert.
Until time bears proof, however, we predict The Next Tennis Bracelet will be… the tennis bracelet—but updated and made modern.
The newest permutations are quite different from their predecessors. They feature far more intricately designed settings and focus as much on the look of the metal as on the presence of diamonds. The next generation of diamond line bracelets aren’t typical “tennis bracelets” at all, but consumers might just “love” them nonetheless.