|Photo: Photo: Windsor Bishop|
Traditionally a tennis bracelet is a diamond line bracelet, but nowadays the term also describes a style of bracelet that can feature other stones like sapphires, rubies, emeralds, topaz or tanzanites, etc.
Worn since the 1920s, it became known as a tennis bracelet during the 1978 U.S. Open after tennis champion, Chris Evert, asked for the match to be stopped in order to find the diamond line bracelet which flew off her arm. (That woman knew her priorities!😊) The style has grown in popularity ever since with tennis bracelets sold at every price point.
What hasn't changed: The bracelet contains small gems connected by precious metals, most often in 14k gold, 18k gold, platinum, or sterling silver. There are 3 common design settings: prone, channel and bezel (see the images below - in the order mentioned↓).
So My Tips to get the Best Value, i.e. a Greater Effect for Less Money includes the following:
1) Be flexible in selecting the metal: For value buy 14k gold. It will lower the price by $200+; and 14k gold is a sturdy metal for a bracelet since it is stronger than purer 18k gold.
|Photo: Macy's Effy designed bracelets|
2) Be flexible with the color and clarity of dimonds: Accept up to a "J" color with up to I2 clarity to get more carats. A "J" color is still a colorless stone, and I2 clarity will have flaws invisible to the naked eye. In a tennis bracelet where the diamonds are smaller, you might even consider a "K" color and/or I3 clarity (although not a grade you'd ever desire with a large solitare diamond ring because tint and flaws are easy to see on a big diamond, less so with small ones). Probably for ordinary people, a tennis bracelet in grades higher than an I - J color, or I1 - I2 clarity would burst their budgets! (Think $30,000+)
Of course, inspect the bracelet with your naked eye before buying, or only buy online from a trusted merchant who offers a full return policy. Jewelry retailers Macy's, John Allan and Blue Nile offer good selection, value and customer service.
|Photo: Macy's - prone setting|
4) Buy a tennis bracelet set with your favorite gemstones like sapphires, rubies, emeralds, topaz, or tanzanites: Sapphires, rubies, emeralds and tanzanites cost more per carat than diamonds as large stones, but in a tennis bracelet consisting of a line of small stones, the price is nearly always cheaper than a line of ONLY diamonds. Other precious jewels make equally gorgeous tennis bracelets that are often adorned with tiny diamonds (so you get sparkle) while giving you more affordable options to consider.
5) Fake it until you make it: If you can't afford precious gems in gold, turn to cubic zirconia in sterling silver. Silver is a precious metal too, and cubic zirconia glitters enough to make your thrifty heart sing. Look classy minus going broke ... and wear it proudly, sister!
|Photo: Saks 5th Avenue|
Extra tip: Count the number of diamonds on a tennis bracelet before buying. If carats and prices match between bracelets, I want bigger diamonds (count: 36 - 40 stones) over number of diamonds (count: 44+ stones) for a greater effect. Pure preference. Know what you like!
Buyers are finding good stones at a nice price at Costco's, but report faulty clasps which need to be taken to a jeweler for replacement so they don't fall off the wrist to be lost.
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