With the world’s best tennis players set to compete in New York for the coveted US Open trophy this month, now seems a good time to delve into tennis’s most glamorous accessory: the tennis bracelet. Most women who wear one likely don’t know why their beautiful diamond bracelet has such an unusual name. In fact, the bracelets were once referred to as “eternity bracelets” just as similarly styled rings are called “eternity bands.”
But a mishap during the 1987 US Open changed the bracelet’s moniker forever. Tennis star Chris Evert was wearing an eternity bracelet during a match when the clasp failed and the bracelet flew from her wrist. This might have gone unnoticed, except Evert asked for the match to be stopped until the bracelet could be found. Suddenly, women everywhere were smitten with the beautiful bracelet and the “tennis bracelet” trend was on.
The tennis bracelet is a classic piece, often given as a gift for special occasions. Most are diamond, though colored stone options are also available. Because they are often worn on a daily basis – why have a beautiful all-diamond bracelet if you’re not going to wear it? – it’s important that they be cleaned and cared for appropriately.
Like bridal jewelry and classic diamond stud earrings, tennis bracelets tend to get dirtier due to frequent wear. It is recommended that jewelry be put on after showering and going through your beauty routine, to prevent exposure to soaps, lotions, hair spray and other cosmetics. It’s also best not to wear these pieces while gardening, swimming, cleaning and during exercise (right, Chris Evert?), to avoid dirt, chlorine, chemicals, sweat, sunscreen and more.
To clean a tennis bracelet or any piece set with many stones, use a cleaning formulation that is safe for the metal and stones the bracelet is made of. Gold, platinum and diamond pieces can be soaked for a couple of minutes in a fine jewelry cleaning formula, while any softer stones such as emeralds should be soaked in a non-ammoniated gentle jewelry cleaning formula. Whether prong set or bezel set, it’s important to clean under and around the stones. Use the jewelry cleaning brush that comes with your jar of cleaner or the brush at the end of your travel jewelry stick. These are designed so that you cannot apply too much pressure to the setting.
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