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Serena Williams, most probably the greatest women’s player ever, and a jewelry and fashion maven. Photo by Edwin Martizez.


On September 4, 2022, an era in the sporting world drew to a close. It was the third round of the women’s singles at the 2022 U.S. Open, which is the last of this year’s four grand slam tennis tournaments.

The actual result will be a footnote in history. Serena Williams lost 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 to Ajla Tomljanovic, an Australian almost 12 years her junior. What will be remembered that it  was most likely the last time the woman who is arguably the greatest female player in tennis history took to the court in a professional tournament.

Just shy of 41, Williams is not simply an athlete – she is an icon. That does not in any way detract from what she achieved as a tennis player in her almost 27 year-long career. She has been ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association as the world top seeded player for 319 weeks, including a joint-record 186 consecutive weeks. She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, second only to Australia’s Margaret Court’s 24, and won all four major singles titles in the same year on two occasions. In 2021, she was ranked 28th on Forbes’ World’s Highest-Paid Athletes list and is the highest-earning woman athlete of all time.

Williams is also a brand. Creating collections for both Nike and Puma, she then launched her own clothing line, which she called Aneres, which the observant will notice is Serena in reverse. It was followed by a handbag and jewelry collection. She described the latter as “a beautiful celebration of the strong women in my life and around the world.”

Initially Serena Williams Jewelry was sold on the Home Shopping Network (HSN) in the United States, but in August 2021 it was announced that KP Sanghvi, one of the world’s largest diamond and jewelry companies has been appointed its global licensee and would be vetting new opportunities in additional markets.


William’s appearance at the 2022 U.S. Open weas clearly more than just about tennis. Wearing a gem-encrusted black outfit that she co-designed with Nike, which it was said had been inspired by dresses worn by figure skaters. It was supposed to have six layers – one for each her U.S. Open titles – but she removed four of them because it was too heavy.

On her feet, she sported NikeCourt Flare 2 sneakers. These were not your run of the mill tennis shoes, for they featured a diamond-encrusted swoosh and gold laces woven with 400 hand-set diamonds. The shoes reportedly were designed in conjunction with the tennis player’s jewelry company.

On its Instagram feed, Serena Williams Jewelry featured a video clip of its owner opening giant jewelry box containing the tennis shoes. “Our Queen of the Court @serenawilliams will be stepping onto the US Open court with custom Serena Williams Jewelry on her feet!,” the company noted in the post. “In collaboration with @nike, these custom made shoes are solid gold, 1.5 CT. T.W. with deubrés spelling out “QUEEN” and “MAMA.”

Serena Williams’ NikeCourt Flare 2 sneakers, featuring a diamond-encrusted swoosh. 


The special relationship between tennis and diamond jewelry predates Serena Williams. Popular history dates it to the 1987 U.S. Open, when one the most celebrated women’s player at the time, Chris Evert, was remembered to have asked for a time out from officials during a game. The reason, allegedy, was that a clasp of a diamond bracelet she was wearing had broken, and the piece of jewelry had fallen off her wrist.

Evert, the story goes, referred to the fallen jewelry item as her “tennis bracelet,” and so, it is said, was born a new jewelry legend.

That may be overstating the fact somewhat. The item Evert displayed to the world was an in-line diamond bracelet designed and created by George Bedewi, a noted jeweler. Before then it was often referred to as an eternity bracelet.

But even before the 1987 U.S. Open, the in-line bracelet was being associated with tennis. A New York Times article published in June of that year, four months prior to the tournament, referred to the iconic design and noted that “women who wear it along with a Piaget or Rolex watch call it a tennis bracelet

The name, said jeweler Helene Fortunoff, speaking to the New York Times was created  to sell to women itching to wear diamonds during the day with sports attire.

But an intrepid reporter, Marion Fasel, writing in The Adventurine, said that the credit for the tennis-diamond connection still belongs to Chris Evert.

“Chrissie recalls that she was wearing a diamond and gold bracelet and it broke and fell onto the court in an early round of the Open and they had to stop play while she looked for it,” Fasel wrote, quoting the tennis player’s publicist, adding that the incident occurred the same year that the U.S. Open moved from Forest Hills to Flushing Meadows. It was not 1987, but 1978.

That, as they say, is game, set and match.