My Favorite....Diamond Tennis Bracelet

Accessories designer Elisabeth Weinstock loves antique jewelry, especially this stunning piece handed down from her mom.

Source: Elisabeth Weinstock; Art by Tanya Leigh Washington

Antique jewelry can be a true passion, especially when the piece in question is a stunning diamond tennis bracelet handed down from one's mother. Accessories designer Elisabeth Weinstock shares the sentimental tale behind this striking statement piece, which she never takes off––not even at the gym.

How did this amazing bracelet come into your life? "My mother passed away and left it to me. She wore it every day and didn't take it off, so it was left to me and now I try to wear it every day, although I keep having to fix it because it's an antique. Like, literally to take some pictures of it just now, I had it taken across the street and had it cleaned, and they said, 'Tell her we'll bring it right back because the link has to be fixed again.'"

What is it made of? "It's platinum, and I believe that it's from the '40s. It's beautiful. It's handmade and it's a lot of carats. It's an important piece. Even when I brought it there, the guy said to me––and he's been a jeweler forever––he's like, 'Wow.' The quality of the diamonds, they're really clear as well."

My Favorite....Diamond Tennis Bracelet
Courtesy: Elisabeth Weinstock

Do you remember the story of how your mom got it? "She got it when I was about ten years old, my dad got it for her as a gift and brought it home for her as a surprise. We were at home, it was a Sunday morning that he gave it to her––because he made breakfast. My father was the kind of man who could be standing at the water cooler with a glass in his hand and ask my mom to get him water. Except for Sundays, he would make breakfast for all of us. And he gave it to her at that breakfast. She loved it. She was just over-the-moon excited. Put it right on."

Do you ever hesitate to wear something so precious every day?
"Only because I've had to repair it. Typically I don't, and I love having it close to me, it makes me feel close to my mom. It's a big deal. Every time I wear it, I remember that my whole life, I would see it on my mom and I loved to see it on her. It just looked so ritzy or regal or classy, no matter what she was wearing, so to see it on my arm—because I have the same hands as my mom, and the same build––I love it. I have my dad's hair and my mom's hands. Interestingly enough, not her feet."

Do you have a ritual around wearing it? "I take it off every night, I put it on every morning. I make jewelry boxes, and I have a jewelry box at home and I keep it in there."

Do you get a lot of compliments and comments on it? "Yes. Like at the gym, people say to me, 'That's what you're wearing to the gym?' Things like that. I wear it on my right hand so people will comment on it when I'm signing something or writing something, because I'm right handed."

My Favorite....Diamond Tennis Bracelet
Courtesy: Elisabeth Weinstock

How do you style such a powerful statement piece in different ways? "I have worn it to every special event. I wear it all the time. I mix it with other bracelets that I was left by her as well. She was a big bracelet woman; as a matter of fact, she had many old vintage bracelets that are diamonds, so sometimes I cluster them and have a little arm party going on! I'll wear it, if I want to be simple and clean, with a black dress at night. The truth is, because I'm a jeans girl and I wear a lot of sneakers and I'm running around taking pictures and designing and doing everything that I do at a hundred miles a minute, it's kind of the way I dress up. I'm a big believer in dressing up with accessories. I'm not a silk blouse girl."

So vintage jewelry and accessories are a big part of your life! "I collect vintage jewelry. So I make these vintage necklaces from antique old English crests and watch bobs and old English chains, and I've made them forever. Literally, I've made them for the past 25 years. And I mix up metals, silver and golds together, so I wear a lot of those, long and short—I mix and match them. I also have a pinky ring that I wear that's from 1910, which I hardly ever take off, then I have this other ring right next to it from the same period that my mom gave me, that I never take off, so the combination of all the old and new––because I do have some newer pieces as well––there's that juxtaposition. But this tennis bracelet is just sort of the topper. It's the queen of all the jewels that I have."

What do you love about jewelry from that era? "The attention to detail and the intricate work is incredible. A lot of women that I know that wear a lot of these big pieces or modern jewelry always comment on my rings, and the intricacies and detailing that I don't think is apparent that much anymore. It's just different. And I love the attention to detail. The way this bracelet is made is incredible."

Any tips to readers shopping for vintage jewelry? "I think the most important thing is, if you see a piece in an antique store or show or anything like that, that calls out to you, it's the right piece for you. And I feel that every time I buy something like that––recently I was in Napa Valley and I went into this antique store and I saw this old, gold ring that was sort of ornate. It's just a gold band and it's beautiful! The detailing on it is incredible, and the man who sold it to me was, like, from the 1800s, and the color of the gold, and the way that it is, I had to have it. And it wasn't a 'big deal' ring, it was one of those pieces that was just beautiful. I love that. And I think if anything sings to somebody that way, they should have it. If they can."

How does your mom's tennis bracelet inspire you? "It's such a feel good piece. I don't know if it inspires me as much as it fills me up with joy and keeps me going. I have this piece that my mom wore daily wrapped around my wrist on a daily basis. It feels good."

My Favorite....Diamond Tennis Bracelet
Source: Elisabeth Weinstock