Sunday, September 25, 2005
Serena's jewels raise $21,100 for charity
By Darren Rovell
One of the most valuable pieces of jewelry worn during a professional tennis match was sold Sunday for half price.
A pair of earrings worn by Serena Williams during her U.S. Open matches raised $21,100 for Hurricane Katrina victims. The retail value of the earrings, which were made up of more than 350 diamonds and is 4.18 carats, is $40,000.
The earrings were auctioned on eBay as part of the ATP and WTA Tours' joint effort to raise money for the victims of the catastrophe. Proceeds will be sent to the American Red Cross.
The earrings garnered plenty of attention for Williams, who has a history of making fashion statements on court. At past U.S. Open tournaments, she has worn a tight spandex catsuit outfit, and also warmed up in leg sleeves that made it look like she was wearing boots.
In her first-round victory over Jung-Jan Chan, one of the earrings, donated to Serena by jewelry designer Erica Courtney, fell out on the court.
"I didn't put it on tight enough because I was rushing to go out," Williams said.
After the match, USA Network broadcaster Michael Barkann asked Williams what she thought about the fact that her earrings were valued at more than Chan's career earnings of $21,700. Williams replied, "You gotta have the bling!"
Williams lost to her sister Venus in the fourth round of the tournament.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at Darren.firstname.lastname@example.org.