The Tennis Chain: A Complete Guide
Tennis chains are a must-add to any jewelry collection. Diamond tennis bracelets and necklaces became popular in the 1920s and the style has since become a classic piece adored by many. More recently, there has been an upsurge in the popularity of diamond tennis necklaces and chains.
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about diamond tennis chains below.
What is a Tennis Chain?
Tennis chains consist of a continuous strand of gemstones or diamonds. They come in different widths and lengths but are most often designed using stones of equal color, size, and style.
Diamonds are the most traditional stones to use in tennis chains. They are often paired with silver. However, they can be made using other precious and non-precious metals such as gold, brass, or stainless steel.
Tennis chains are traditionally worn on special occasions. Yet, people have also begun wearing them in more casual settings due to the increase in their popularity. The ideal length for a diamond tennis necklace is around twenty inches. This is the perfect length for layering. Being able to layer tennis chains with other necklaces means you can style it for any occasion.
Where The Name Comes From
The name of the bracelet stems from an event that occurred during the 1987 U.S. Open. During the match, tennis player Chris Evert lost her diamond bracelet. She stopped the match and wouldn’t complete it until her chain was found. Since then, this style of bracelet has been referred to as a tennis bracelet. Necklaces in the tennis style have also since become a popular accessory.
Types of Tennis Chains
The classic tennis necklace setting has prongs to hold the gemstones or diamonds in place. A prong setting emphasizes the stones and allows them to sparkle brilliantly. However, there is a higher chance of losing a stone if it becomes dislodged.
Another classic option is a bezel setting. In this setting, a metal rim hugs around the stone. This provides extra strength and there is a smaller chance of losing a gem. Unfortunately, it also reduces the shine.
Other popular types of tennis chains include:
- Choker – A shorter chain designed to sit higher on the neck
- Graduated – Includes gradually increasing sizes of diamonds/ gemstones
- Baguette – Features baguette-cut diamonds/gemstones (instead of round-cut diamonds)
- Floating – Features a thin metal chain designed to create the illusion that the stones are suspended
- Double Row – Features two rows of gems or diamonds (instead of a single row)
- Clustered – Includes center stones with halos of smaller stones around them
- Colored – Includes colored diamonds or gemstones (instead of colorless)
A tennis necklace or tennis bracelet can be made in a precious metal of your choosing. The classic tennis chain is made using diamonds and sterling silver or gold. But it has also become popular for this kind of diamond necklace to be made using rose gold or white gold.
Many factors determine the cost of tennis chain necklaces and bracelets. These include:
- The brand or jeweler you purchase from
- The type of materials used
- The diamond grades
- The size of the gems
Tennis chains with smaller diamonds and lower-grade materials tend to cost less. This is especially true for tennis necklaces or bracelets made from other gemstones. The higher the grade of the materials and the higher the carat weight of the stones, the bigger the price tag will be.
There is also the option of buying a tennis chain made from stainless steel and cubic zirconia. This results in an equally sparkly necklace, but costs less than a chain made from real diamonds.
You may also opt for lab-grown diamonds. These are significantly cheaper than a tennis necklace made from mined diamonds.
Wearing Tennis Necklaces or Tennis Bracelets
How you decide to wear your tennis chain will vary depending on your clothes and other accessories. It will also be determined by your own style and personal preference.
Generally, tennis chains pair well with minimalist outfits that allow the necklace or bracelet to become a statement piece. These outfits can be as casual as a pair of jeans and a plain T-shirt.
It is also a good idea to coordinate the colors of your outfit and other jewelry pieces with the color of your tennis chain. For example, if your tennis chain is made with silver and diamonds, wearing silver jewelry and cool-toned clothes is ideal.
The thickness of the tennis chain will also determine how you wear it. Tennis necklaces with thin chains look great layered with pendants or other chains, while those with thicker chains can be worn by themselves as statement pieces. This works well with a casual outfit for an everyday look. Also, keep in mind that tennis chains intended for everyday wear may have to make use of a more secure setting, such as a bezel setting.
If you opt for layering your tennis necklace, there are several ways to go about it. For example, you may choose to hang a simple, heavy pendant from your tennis chain. Or, you may decide to wear several chains of varying lengths along with your tennis necklace. Keep in mind that it will look best when the other necklaces are in a corresponding color.
When wearing a tennis necklace as a single strand, you may find that the best accessory to pair it with is a tennis bracelet! This is a great way to look coordinated and elegant.
Stop Tennis Chains from Turning Over
One of the cons of owning tennis chain necklaces or bracelets is that some tennis chains flip around while being worn. It can be a frustrating occurrence and can be due to the design of the chain itself.
One of the main reasons this may happen is that the chain is too light. Heavier tennis chains tend to flip around less.
Here are some solutions and ways to prevent tennis necklaces from constantly turning around.
Higher Carat Size
As weight can be the cause of flipping, it may be better to purchase a tennis necklace with stones of a higher carat weight. The extra weight of the gems can help to keep it in place on your neck. You could also opt for a thicker chain made from a heavier metal.
Right Chain Length
A shorter tennis chain is much less likely to flip around than a longer chain. This is why choosing the right length for your tennis chain is so important. If you find that your tennis chain tends to turn around a lot during the day, it may be worthwhile to have it shortened by a reputable jeweler (or the one that you bought it from).
In a graduated tennis chain, the diamonds or gems get larger towards the center of the necklace. This ensures that the necklace has more weight in the center, and usually keeps the chain from turning over as it hangs close to the skin.
The prong settings of a tennis chain may also cause it to turn over easily. Necklaces with a lower setting will reduce the center of gravity in the gems, which can help it stay in place better.
If you already own a tennis chain, you may not want to buy a new one. A great way to weigh down an existing tennis necklace and keep it from turning over is by adding a pendant. While it may not work for thicker chains, thin chains may fit easily through a pendant.
Having your tennis chain soldered by a reputable jeweler is also a good way to keep it from turning over. This adds more metal, thereby adding extra weight to help keep it in place. Additionally, it is more effective and affordable than buying a tennis chain with a higher carat weight.
Caring for a Diamond Tennis Necklace or Bracelet
As with other fine jewelry, it is best to take a gentle approach when cleaning your tennis chain. You may clean it using a solution provided by a jeweler. You can also clean it at home by following these steps:
- Fill a bowl with gentle soap and warm water and mix.
- Submerge your chain and swirl it in the water to remove hard-to-reach dirt.
- Soak it in the mixture for up to fifteen minutes.
- Gently brush the entire chain with a soft toothbrush.
- Pat dry with a microfiber cloth or paper towels.
- If you notice missing gems, pour the cleaning solution through a sieve to catch any loose gemstones. Have your chain reset by a reputable jeweler.
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