New York—Whether a fine jewelry connoisseur considers themselves a minimalist or a layer-it-all-on-and-then-some magpie, chances are they already own or are coveting the perfect diamond tennis necklace.
A simple diamond rivière, meaning “river” in French, has been popular since the 1700s
, according to Lang Antiques’ online Antique Jewelry University.
Comprised of stones that are equal or slightly graduated in size, today the style is often referred to as a tennis necklace for its similarity to the tennis bracelet
, or a diamond line necklace.
Though never out of style, it’s experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years.
While in the past, a diamond rivière may have been stored in a safe and taken out for special occasions, today’s tennis necklace has a more casual feel and is worn as an everyday style.
In the era of consumers buying fine jewelry for themselves and enjoying their purchases as daily accessories, tennis necklaces with smaller diamonds have proliferated. They’re more appropriate for daytime than a massive diamond statement piece and are easy to layer with other necklaces.
That makes the diamond tennis necklace a wardrobe MVP, as reliable as a favorite pair of jeans, which, coincidentally, pair just as well with a diamond line necklace as a formal gown or suit.
From a design standpoint, a tennis necklace doesn’t offer much in the way of individuality. However, jewelry designers have put their own spin on the style.
While not classic tennis necklaces, brands have cashed in on the style’s popularity through their own gold and diamond chains measuring between 15 and 18 inches that convey their signature style.
Their designs are just as versatile as a rivière with as much potential for layering but are, arguably, more interesting to look at.
Ara Vartanian’s almost utilitarian gold and diamond links, with a few signature inverted black diamonds, provide a unisex alternative to a diamond line necklace, while Jacquie Aiche’s dangling diamonds offer the brand’s quintessential movement and romantic style.
One of Sydney Evan’s latest tennis necklace-adjacent pieces features her beloved evil eye as chain links, while Lauren Rubinski’s take is all about bold gold, with a few pavé diamond links thrown in.
Descended from generations of diamond dealers, Jade Trau designer Jade Lustig always has gravitated toward the stone over colored gemstones. Her everyday-appropriate diamond and gold necklaces are all about the interplay between the stone and the metal.
“The ‘Pia Necklace’ is definitely a brand favorite and I think it’s because it strikes the perfect balance of chain to diamond ratio,” she explained of the style.
“It’s just enough diamond to feel like a diamond necklace and yet enough classic chain to have that weighty gold chain feel. It also has total standalone appeal but equally layers immaculately with other necklaces.”
Vice Versa Jewelry co-founders Sophie Thoerner and Hannah Traulsen’s “Kin Necklace” has put the emerging brand on the map. Dangling diamonds are interspersed between the links of a simple ball chain.
Like a lot of good ideas, the design concept was the answer to a problem Thoerner and Traulsen encountered with regular diamond necklaces.
“We love the effortless, everyday look of a diamond tennis necklace but we found traditional tennis necklaces were always flipping so the diamonds weren’t visible,” they said.
“We created the ‘Kin Necklace’ as a sophisticated alternative that always lays right on your neck. The graduating wave of diamonds adds movement and makes it look like the diamonds are almost floating. A little bit sexy and totally cool, it’s our take on the classic style.”
A well-designed tennis necklace alternative often shows a designer firm in their visual identity.
Azlee’s elegant geometric aesthetic is excellently expressed in the company’s “Scattered Gold Bar and Diamond Tennis Necklace,” while Boochier’s playful ethos is on full display in its gold and diamond necklace featuring its “Slinkee” motif.
Scroll up to the gallery to see 17 designers’ takes on a versatile, everyday gold and diamond necklace.
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