It’s tennis bracelet season. With the U.S. Open matches fast approaching, the jewelry world is celebrating its favorite sporty icon – the natural diamond tennis bracelet. Most of us didn’t know what connected the sparkling diamond bracelet to the sport, that is until last year, when jeweler Monica Rich Kosann partnered with tennis great Chris Evert to reveal the real story.
As the story goes, at the U.S. Open matches in 1978, Evert halted her playoff match when her diamond bracelet fell off, saying ‘I lost my tennis bracelet.’ Decades later, it remains the ubiquitous name for diamond line bracelets.
This month, Kosann and Evert are launching their second collection of diamond tennis bracelets, with new shapes, colors, and styles. Each is imbued with elements from Evert’s memories of that fateful day on court: A pear-shaped diamond is the dripping sweat, and an emerald is a reminder of the green court.
After all, Kosann loves a good story. The jeweler’s business is rooted in storytelling. She started her namesake brand with her husband Rod offering a range of gold lockets to hold precious memories and symbols. She always says, “A locket is the sexiest piece of jewelry a woman can wear; it holds her stories and secrets.”
Today, Kosann is joined by daughter Danielle, a painter, illustrator, and photographer, who is the company’s artistic director. Stories and family jewels are part of their story too: Diamond jewelry is passed down from mother to daughter. “It’s like a subtle message wearing a family piece of jewelry…kind of a reminder that you are loved always,” said Kosann.
We sat down with Monica and Danielle to talk about the newest diamond tennis bracelets, jewelry styling, and heirloom.
OND:Why is the diamond tennis bracelet one of your most meaningful jewels?
Monica Rich Kosann (MRK): I created a tennis bracelet with diamonds from old family pieces; I had a bag of jewelry that I inherited from my stepmother, mother-in-law, uncle, and my mother, and I removed some of the diamonds from each piece and made my heirloom tennis bracelet. I never take it off.
Danielle Kosann (DK): My husband bought me a tennis bracelet for our 10th wedding anniversary last year. It’s the Chris Evert one with an emerald in the middle and I never take it off.
OND:Why is the diamond tennis bracelet still so hot?
MRK: It’s an easy piece, it’s classic and never goes out of style.
DK: Women my age want jewelry they can wear all the time. They tend to be more thoughtful with their purchases; they don’t want to buy things that sit in jewelry boxes. The diamond tennis bracelet is a piece you can wear all the time, but it’s still special and an heirloom that is passed down.
OND: How are women styling tennis bracelets today?
MRK: I have memories of my mother wearing a single tennis bracelet. Now, women are layering them in twos and threes. I wear three stacked with my two Poesy gold bracelets. Chris Evert is hooked too; she always wears three.
OND: What’s new in the Chris Evert collection?
MRK: There’s a lot more color. There’s aquamarine and diamond, green tourmaline and diamond, and peridot and diamond, and a rock crystal and gold bracelet. They layer on with a range of diamond bracelet styles and prices, which come in gold and sterling silver. The collection ranges from $985 to $25,000 plus.
[Fifty percent of sales from the pink sapphire style will benefit the Prevent Cancer Foundation.]
I’m a big believer in giving and sharing jewelry with my girls so I can enjoy watching them wear pieces that I loved and enjoyed and wore over time.
Photography by Vincenzo Dimino
OND: How does your daughter’s style influence you?
MRK: Both my daughters have always been my inspiration. I love to see what they wear; they help me discover new brands and keep me cool. But my style tends to be more monochromatic because it’s all about the jewelry. I won’t buy something if I can’t wear jewelry with it.
OND:How is your style different than your mother’s?
DK: I’m more of a minimalist. I’m a mom and always running around so my style is understated and easy.
OND: How does Danielle influence the company’s designs?
MRK: A great example is when Danielle had her first child, and I gave her a locket. She said, ‘I love it but I wish it were slimmer so it could more easily layer with other pieces.’ And the Slim Locket collection was born. It’s been one of our most successful collections.
OND: Danielle, what’s one of the pieces you designed?
DK: I’m super excited about the new diamond Artemis arrow pendant. I love mythology, and Artemis is the goddess of nature, the first midwife, and the embodiment of female strength. This is the ultimate self-purchase.
OND: Did you always want to join the family business?
DK: If I was going to pour my artistic energy anywhere, it would be into this brand. I was 16 years old when my parents started the business out of our house. It’s always been part of my life. I love working with my mom and our design team, and it’s amazing to watch the brand evolve.
OND: Do you talk jewelry at the dinner table?
MRK: We all live near each other in Connecticut and have dinner every Sunday. [Danielle’s sister Laura is a screenwriter] We live and breathe the business, but we also talk about everything and anything. We respect each other’s opinions; and there’s no shortage of them.
OND: Danielle, how has your mother influenced your career?
DK: She’s my biggest inspiration. My mother has always been my go-to person to edit photos, and I send her photos of my paintings in progress. She has an incredible eye. She always has good advice.
OND: Monica, what’s something you learned from your mother?
MRK: My mother (who was an art gallerist) taught me that there are no rules. She’s a super confident woman and she mixed and matched her clothes and jewelry in different ways. My mother-in-law was also very influential in my life. She is very chic and elegant, and she was doing quiet luxury before it was quiet luxury.
OND: Danielle, what jewelry has your mother passed down to you?
DK: When me and my sister were married, she gave each of us a thin diamond band to stack with our wedding bands.
OND: Monica, what do those bands symbolize?
MRK: I wore those diamond bands around my wedding band for over 20 years, so it seemed fitting to give them to my daughters to wear with their wedding bands.