The Classic Tennis Bracelet
The classic tennis bracelet has diamonds set close together and is flexible along its entire length. Fancier designs, with stones spaced out, or those combining different shapes and gemstones may or may not be called tennis bracelets.
Tennis Bracelet Styles and Settings
While most designs contain one row of diamonds, some have two, three or even more rows! Most tennis bracelets utilize round, brilliant or princess cut diamonds, although some will incorporate emerald or baguette cuts or even a mixture of cuts!
Tennis bracelets can also be exclusively set with gemstones such as emeralds, sapphires and rubies or combined with diamonds. Gems other than diamonds usually reduce the cost of a tennis bracelet.
Types of Settings
There are four basic types: prong, channel, bezel, and half-bezel settings providing the purchaser a wide variety of styles to choose from.
In this setting, 3 or 4 short prongs of metal will hold the stone in place on all sides and allow light to pass through the diamond’s pavilion like that of a diamond ring. When diamonds are set side by side shared prongs are used. This allows the diamonds to sit closely together. The micro pave setting is used to set tiny diamonds into the band. This is the most popular setting available in tennis bracelets as it allows better light penetration and extra sparkle!
This consists of two rows of thin metal either side of the diamonds, to hold the diamonds in place, like a channel of water. There are no prongs. The tones sit in a seamless line right next to each other blocked off at each end.
Each diamond is surrounded by metal, much like the head of a watch. This gives a smooth finish and provides a beautiful frame around each diamond. Bezel settings are usually round, but square bezels can also look very elegant.
Half Bezel Setting
Instead of surrounding each diamond, metal is connected to only two sides of the stone. Each stone is almost surrounded by metal, except for the part where it almost touches the next or previous stone. Also the metal appears to move in and out, creating a unique, wavy look.
In addition, there are some other unusual settings that combine halo or cluster with pave or channel setting.
Look for a safety latch! The clasp of these bracelets may vary from one style to another and buyers should opt for tennis bracelets that include a secondary security measure whenever possible. An extra chain safety latch that can hold the bracelet undamaged in case the main clasp gets broken will prove to be invaluable. One such example of a secondary safety latch is the ‘figure eight’, which can keep the bracelet in place even if the main clasp fails. Overall one should check that the closures, clasps, and safety latches all work properly.
Types of Clasps on Tennis Bracelets
The clasp is a very important part of a tennis bracelet. It is the locking device that helps to keep the bracelet closed and secure on the wrist.
Resembling a lobster’s claw, the lobster clasp is made with a retractable side hook that meets a small loop.
Spring Ring Clasp
A spring ring is similar to a lobster clasp but round. It is slightly harder to manoeuvre than a lobster clasp.
A box clasp is a square-shaped, decorative piece into which a metal wedge slides and latches. It is often hidden within the design of the bracelet. Box clasps are not as strong as a lobster or spring ring clasp.
Box Clasp with Safety
A box clasp with safety is simply a box clasp with an added guard to prevent the clasp from opening.
A toggle clasp is a ring or other opening that meets a T-shaped bar. The bar is then inserted through the ring to hold the bracelet in place. It is quite elegant in looks but not very secure as the bar may slip out of the ring.
A hidden clasp is a box-like clasp that blends in with the design of the bracelet. It often has the same gemstones or patterns as non-clasp bracelets. There is usually a safety to prevent breakage / add security.
A safety clasp combines an oval-shaped decorative piece with a curved hook that latches into place inside an oval cage. This very secure clasp is often found on vintage and antique jewellery.
You want to be able to put a finger or finger width, between the wrist and the bracelet. Any looser or tighter will not be comfortable. Most bracelets are uniformly sized at 7 inches. If you wrist is very thin or larger than average the bracelets can be re-sized.
How to determine size
Measuring the person’s wrist with a flexible measuring tape will produce the most accurate size. You can also wrap a piece of string or ribbon around the wrist then measure the length with a standard ruler. If you are buying a gift, go for a standard 7 inches unless you know any different.
No matter which measuring tool you use, add an inch or half an inch to your measurement to calculate bracelet size. For example, if the wrist measures 6 inches, consider a 6.5 or 7 inch bracelet.
If you’re purchasing the tennis bracelet as a gift and don’t know wrist size, use 7-7.5 as a starting guide. 7-7.5 is the most popular bracelet size for women. If you think she has smaller or larger wrists than the average person, adjust up or down accordingly. Tennis bracelets can be easily adjusted by removing or adding a link.
Worried that shortening the bracelet may ruin the design?
With simple uniform tennis bracelets, this shouldn’t be a problem. But in the case of a more complex design it may be more difficult to re-size, because elements are shaped and spaced out in a particular way. Adding or subtracting an element or links may ruin the design. In such a case it might be best to redesign and manufacture the piece bespoke, taking measurements up front.
When to buy tennis bracelets
Tennis bracelets make for beautiful and meaningful gifts throughout the year. Because of their classic design and popular appeal, tennis bracelets are often passed down for generations as family heirlooms and keepsakes.
Consider a tennis bracelet for any of these special occasions:
Wedding anniversary (i.e. 5th, 10th, 15th, 25th)
Wedding day gift (for spouse, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother)
Graduation (high school, college, graduate school, medical school)
Birth of a child
Achievement of an exciting milestone
Christmas, Hanukkah, or other holidays