If there is a shining hero of every dream jewelry collection, it’s the tennis necklace – a sleek staple that can act as a subtle yet scintillating accent to high-octane gowns or take center stage when paired with minimalist styling. What exactly is a tennis necklace? Also known as a ‘line necklace’, it refers to any collar-length necklace that features a fluid line of stones, each set side by side to create a single strand of diamonds or precious gems that sits on the collarbones.
When choosing a tennis necklace, the devil is in the detail. Nuances between designs can feel subtle at first, but the setting and sizing of stones can greatly affect the finished piece. LA-based designer Suzanne Kalan wears three stacked tennis necklaces as part of her everyday look, each of which features her signature scattered diamonds. “Clients keep coming back to my baguette-cut diamonds because they’re ultra-versatile and suit any age,” she explains. “Unlike any other cut of diamond, baguettes are low-key enough to be worn casually, but can also be dressed up – they are contemporary yet elegant.” It’s also important to consider the length of necklace you’re looking for, where you want it to sit on the décolletage and whether you are seeking a classic diamond style or colored stones. Any of Kalan’s designs will be a treasured talking point to be passed along for generations to come.
For Octavia Zamagias, founder of Octavia Elizabeth, the setting of her stones is as beautiful as the diamonds themselves. Zamagias has expertly mastered the handmade setting of her ‘Nesting Gem’ pieces to ensure they never flip over – a common problem with poorly crafted pieces. Every diamond is nestled within a glinting 18-karat recycled gold surround and each is a true labor of love. “A tennis necklace is the ultimate gift – it’s a piece you’ll want to wear every day, as well as for special occasions. And if you are the gift-giver, you will get to see your gift being enjoyed on a daily basis – so will know you really got it right,” says the LA-based designer. For party season, Zamagias says, “Always layer. I love mixing lengths and styles; I wear my tennis necklace with our ‘Imogen’ chain and one of our ‘Lover’ lockets. It instantly adds interest to my daily uniform of jeans and a white tee – or dresses up my little black dress for a party.”
Matthew Harris, founder of Mateo, also highlights the versatility of his tennis-necklace designs. “It becomes a part of you that you will never want to take off. I wear mine every day; it’s the perfect balance between luxury and everyday simplicity,” he explains. Mateo’s pink sapphire tennis necklace features a ‘buttercup’ setting – a way of mounting stones within U-shaped scalloped prongs. “It’s truly a beautiful setting that allows the jewels, such as these stunning pink sapphires, to be the stars of the show.” Another triumph by the Jamaican-born designer is his demi-diamond and pearl-adorned tennis necklace – a chic and contemporary design that combines the simple beauty of a single strand of pearls and the decadence of a line of diamonds, all in one piece.
Playing with materials and proportions is indeed a theme for modern tennis styles, further illustrated by Sophie Bille Brahe’s ‘Collier de Tennis Classique’ design. Intricately composed, this asymmetric diamond line necklace features stones that graduate in size to create a sweeping crescendo of scintillation. Meanwhile, LA-based designer Jennifer Meyer has similarly explored a silhouette switch-up, with her latest tennis necklace featuring stones that subtly swell towards the center of the piece, with contemporary 18-karat-gold bezel links making up the rest of the chain.
Color junkies should look to Shay, Gemella and 42 Suns for styles set with vibrant gems, while those seeking an ultra-unusual design should consideer Sydney Evan, renowned for its scintillating symbols of love, luck, protection and happiness. The brand’s LA-based founder Rosanne Karmes has designed a series of tennis necklaces to celebrate each of her signature emblems, including her ‘Evil Eye’ motif, which subtly harnesses one of history’s most recognized talismans. “The evil-eye setting on this necklace doesn’t necessarily appear as an evil eye at first glance; it still has a timeless appeal,” she says. What really makes this piece special, however, is the intention behind the design. “When you wear it, not only do you feel fabulous, but you always feel protected, too,” says Karmes. And what more could you ask for?
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