When it comes to investing in forever fashion, it's always been about jewelry for me. Yellow gold chains, timeless pearl earrings, and ruby rings (my birthstone) are all pieces I’ve slowly added to my collection over the years — and plan to hold onto. But my long-standing dream is a diamond tennis necklace. It started when I accompanied my dad on a shopping trip to procure an anniversary gift for my mom around age ten. We landed on a tennis bracelet, and I’d like to think it was my instincts that led us to the timeless style that still holds a special place in her jewelry box today. Since then, I’ve dreamed of owning a simple diamond strand, as well.
Yes, a string of diamonds is incredibly pricey. But, when it comes to jewelry, I try to think about cost per wear. If I invest in something I'll have on every day for decades to come, it's more valuable than a one-season-only trend will ever be. And when it comes to classics, there's nothing more polished and simple than a sleek rope of stones around the neck. I relish the idea of a sparkly strand draped across my collarbone as a fanciful element to any outfit of my choosing. I even take great pleasure in the luxe-casual aesthetic concept of combining scintillating jewels with athleisure sets and cozy staples when dressing down. If you’ve not witnessed the glint of a sparkly necklace from beneath a hoodie, let me tell you, it’s chic.
My current fixation has stemmed from many a diamond necklace photo I’ve double-tapped on Instagram, as well as striking iterations I’ve seen across the market. Still, however buzzy the tennis style is at the moment, the elegant design is utterly timeless and endures decades in nearly every form. “Tennis necklaces have had a huge revival recently,” Lizzie Mandler, an LA-based fine jewelry designer, tells me. With a signature edgy-minimalist aesthetic, Mandler’s style never quite jived with the look of larger tennis necklaces that rose in popularity throughout the ’80s and ’90s. Her modern interpretation incorporated classic elements with subtle twists when developing a diamond tennis necklace for her collection.
“I’ve always been drawn to the way a tennis necklace works, the mechanism behind each link that allows it to move seamlessly with the body,” she says. A delicate look was Mandler’s focus when designing hers so that wearers could casually and effortlessly layer the piece into their daily mix, be it with bold chain links or dainty strands. “It’s like a tiny thread of diamonds intertwined with the gold,” she explains.
A three-prong setting rather than a classic four-prong design further amplifies the contemporary appeal. “The idea was to create a thread of diamonds that looks like it’s floating on the skin,” she tells me. Additional collection signatures incorporated into Mandler’s tennis necklace designs include a half-and-half strand of black and white diamonds. “I think it’s a fun way to mix up a classic and make it more wearable,” she adds.
Katherine Kim, an LA-based jeweler with a distinctive style that often combines unique shapes with negative space, describes a tennis necklace as “an iconic piece that can be both fancy and casual at the same time.” As part of her Éternal collection, Kim’s diamond eternity strand features approximately four carats of diamonds, securely surrounded by yellow or white gold. “The setting can feel dated with older tennis necklaces, so I wanted to reinterpret this classic staple in a modern setting that is more delicate and refined.”
With a liquid effect, Kim’s piece is one that can be worn any time of day or night — a modern classic that goes with everything (even sweats). “This piece is an investment and is meant to be worn for years, and one day passed down. It will always stand the test of time.”
Lagos-born fine jewelry designer Thelma West tells me there are many ways in which you can make a beautifully crafted tennis necklace more personal. “A double-strand to elevate that fab status or larger stones for a more effortless but dramatic look,” she says. A quirky interpretation of a traditional tennis necklace she created for a client featured a mix of diamond sizes all around the neck. “Typically, matched diamonds are the classic, but for the woman I was designing for, adding an element of fun was the only way to go. It was super playful, and my favorite way to wear diamonds,” she explains.
Another customization West suggests is the stacked look, layering a tennis necklace with others in your jewelry collection. “Various well-coordinated pieces can complement each other — an important way to let your jewelry personality shine through.”
For the sake of manifestation, keep scrolling to discover my favorite tennis necklaces of the moment, if anything, for the luxurious eye candy.
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