Chris Evert wearing her tennis bracelet at the 1978 U.S. Open
It was 1978 and all eyes were on Chris Evert at the U.S. Open when suddenly she stopped the match to find her bezel set diamond bracelet that flew off her wrist during a long rally. She found her bracelet, which was, up until that time, known as a diamond line or eternity bracelet, first designed during the 1920s-30s Art Deco period. But the bracelet received its new moniker and has been known as the tennis bracelet since the legendary match.
Jewelry designers and manufacturers began receiving an onslaught of requests for ‘tennis bracelets’, which they started to produce in different cuts, carat weights, settings and metals. The bracelets went in and out of style throughout the late 20th century. But during the past ten years, they began witnessing a revival when a new wave of independent designers rejuvenated them with fancy cuts in different settings and closures, hoping to ignite their appeal.
If you think about all of the jewelry collaborations over the years, partnering with everything from beauty to fitness, you might wonder why Chris Evert never had a voice in the new crop of tennis bracelet designs, considering the name and the story are indelibly linked to her.
All of that is about to change with the launch of the collaboration between Monica Rich Kosann and Chris Evert with trademarked branding for the collection The Tennis Bracelet -CE. Born 1978. Finally Authentic.
Monica’s brand has consistently been based on re-imagining iconic jewelry for the strong and independent woman for whom she creates classic yet cool and contemporary pieces. When asked how it fits into her design aesthetic, Monica explains, “ We felt this was such a wonderful way for us to enter the category. Our brand from the beginning has been about taking familiar jewelry ideas – lockets, charms, poesy rings – and reinventing them.” She had achieved this through mainstay styles that are re-interpreted with empowering sayings and modern, meaningful pieces that link together and signify different aspects of a woman’s life.
“I thought this opportunity was perfect for our brand– taking that long-chronicled moment at the US Open with Chris and bringing it to a new generation of women,” Monica adds.
Monica has been a storyteller from the time she was a portrait photographer. “When I photographed my clients, I wanted to reveal their stories through a special moment rather than ask them to pose. My jewelry brand is an evolution of that idea – capturing the special empowering moment and memories.” She continues, “When Chris Evert’s team approached us about this opportunity, I was thrilled to be involved and capture this special moment at the US Open. What makes this collection finally authentic is that it tells the true origin story of the tennis bracelet from Chris Evert’s perspective, where it all began.”
When Monica first met Chris, she shared things she remembered about that day at the US Open. The green court, the white lines, the dripping sweat of competition and of course, her diamond bracelet. Monica explains, “I incorporated all these distinct moments into the designs of The Tennis Bracelet-CE. Bracelets feature a pear-shaped diamond for the bead of sweat, an emerald accent for the green court, and the white lines of natural diamonds in yellow and white gold.”
According to Monica, “The two have become fast friends after working together on the collection.” They text and share photos, laughs and stories. Both see each other as trailblazing women in their fields.
Chris explains, “ I had been a fan of Monica’s jewelry for a long time. Speaking with her for the first time, I knew I wanted to collaborate with an American female designer. In just a short period that I spent with Monica on our first meeting, I knew I had found the designer and woman who could bring my story and the jewelry to life. She is so gracious and without ego; she listened to my ideas, my recollections and my desires for the collection and incorporated it all in her exceptional and distinctive way that also allowed my own story to shine.”
Artistic Director and Monica’s daughter Daniel Kosann, describes the marketing campaign as rooted in 1970s-1980s tennis fashion, “Most of the wardrobe featured in this campaign are genuine pieces owned and worn by Chris Evert during her career, including the racquets and sneakers.”
Monica is a designer who knows how to layer and stack; therefore, I wanted to get the scoop on how she will wear these bracelets and how she sees her customers mixing them in with other pieces from her collection or their own. “I’m wearing two of them right now,” she says. “They are easy to wear anywhere and any time of the day. Most days, I layer the emerald and diamond version in yellow gold and the style with the pear-shaped diamond with two of my poesy bracelets, the Carpe Diem and the Arrow for Strength and the Cartier Juste Un Clous. I mix these with my charm bracelet, which has become sort of like my tattoo. I am never seen without it. “
But if you want to layer just The Tennis Bracelet-CE Collection, Monica suggests, “mixing the different styles when you can afford to add on and wear four or five together. They are all so different—some with more diamonds, others with more chain, and look amazing when worn in multiples.”
Chris weighs in on her favorite style, “ It’s tough to choose. I love them all and how Monica suggests layering them. But I think my favorite from the collection is the 18K white gold bezel set diamond and emerald tennis bracelet. I love how the emerald is set in the middle of the bracelet and represents the green court. I’ve also never worn emeralds before, so it’s something different and new for me.” Chris admits.
“It’s not easy to come across a brand that shares all of your values,” Chris concludes, “I found it so special that Monica Rich Kosann is the only luxury fine jewelry brand that is a Certified B Corporation.
Like all of Monica Rich Kosann’s designs, The Tennis Bracelet-CE Collection will be offered at various price points. From the 18K Gold tennis bracelet with emeralds and diamonds to the sterling silver tennis bracelets with white sapphires or rock crystal stones for a total collection of 13 tennis bracelets.
To further reinforce the collection’s authenticity, each tennis bracelet will have a CE marking (along with the MRK metal markings). The most luxe style in the collection will have an original letter of authenticity signed by Chris and Monica, while a Certificate of Authenticity will be delivered.