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Ask Uncle John Anything: Tennis, Anyone?

March 11, 2015

Uncle John knows pretty much everything—and if he doesn’t, he heads his massive research library, or puts one of his many associates on the case. So go ahead: In the comments below, ask Uncle John anything. (And if we answer your question sometime, we’ll send you a free book!)

Why is a diamond covered bracelet called a tennis bracelet?

History of the tennis braceletIt makes very little sense why a very expensive, very shiny piece of jewelry, a bracelet studded and glimmering with diamonds would be named after tennis. A tennis court seems like the absolute worst place to wear something so valuable and fragile. And oddly enough that’s exactly how the tennis bracelet got its name.

Before 1987, diamond bracelets were generally called, well, diamond bracelets. Tennis superstar Chris Evert was competing in a match in the U.S. Open in New York that year. In addition to her tennis whites, she took the court wearing a very expensive bracelet that was inset with multiple individual diamonds. During the course of the match, all the activity caused the clasp on the bracelet to come open and break off. Evert didn’t notice right away it had fallen off, until she looked down at her wrist during a break in play and noticed her jewelry was gone. She asked the referee to stop the match so she could find her bracelet. The match was paused, Evert searched the court, and found the diamond bracelet.

That’s how “tennis bracelets” got their name…although it’s doubtful anybody has been so foolish as to wear one during a top-level tennis match after that.

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