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The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment That Transformed Their Lives
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The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment That Transformed Their Lives

3.12  ·  Rating details ·  3,369 ratings  ·  732 reviews
The true story of thirteen women who took a risk on an expensive diamond necklace and, in the process, changed not only themselves but a community.

Four years ago, in Ventura, California, Jonell McLain saw a diamond necklace in a local jewelry store display window. The necklace aroused desire first, then a provocative question: Why are personal luxuries so plentiful yet
Hardcover, 215 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,369 ratings  ·  732 reviews

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Jan 05, 2009 rated it did not like it
This would have worked better as a piece in a magazine that I never came across.
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Well this was different. A woman talks a dozen friends into chipping in for an expensive diamond bracelet, which they then rotate among themselves, each keeping it for a month at a time. They form a social club and eventually a philanthropic and community service group around it. The book devotes a chapter to each woman's background and her reactions to the project. As one of the other reviewers on Goodreads said, the writing is People magazine-ish, cheerleading for the group and making excuses ...more
Oh...this book. It was just so cheesy to me. I mean, the premise itself is a little flimsy---13 women sharing a diamond necklace, and wonderful transformations occur. I was suprised to hear their story got all the way to the Today show. It's an interesting idea...but come on, worthy of a national show?! But I held out some hope for it. Basically, each chapter introduces each woman & her experience with the necklace. Since there are 13 women, you get to know one, then you move on the next. ...more
Lisa Hura
Sep 07, 2008 rated it liked it
You can read the full review on my blog.

In Cheryl Jarvis' book, The Necklace, Jonell McClain convinces 11 other women to band together with her to bid on a $37,000 diamond tennis necklace. (The 13th - and most reluctant - member is the jeweler's wife.) They hold regular meetings, they set up guidelines for sharing the necklace (everyone gets it for a month), they talk about where the necklace has been and what they've done while wearing it - everything from trips to the gynecologist to sky
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A friend asked me if I would be interested in joining her book club & this was the book. After looking it up I was hesitant. I decided to give it a go & was totally surprised that I read it in one day. To find a book & totally find bits & pieces of me in everyone of these woman was amazing. I laughed, cried & also felt their pain & frustration. A must read for all woman. For me even though I didn't get to wear the necklace I can say it transformed me also without the ...more
Oct 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
I must admit that when my Goodreads friends said they found the women in this book shallow, I thought they were just being a bit harsh. Then I read the book and . . . I don't think they were being harsh enough. While I admit that it's a quick read, and that my eyes welled up a few times (although I'm a notoriously easy weller), this book actively annoyed me. These women weren't just shallow, they were self-centered and unpleasant. There was not a single one of them that I would want to know or ...more
Renee Crook
Sep 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is about 13 women who bought a diamond necklace together so that they could all experience a little bit of luxury in their life. The 14 chapters in the book each visit one of the women that was involved in the experiment, with the final chapter a reflection of how well things worked. The book stated that this was a political experiment, but personally I think that it fits better as a socio-economic experiment. I thought the best part of this book was being able to see how having a ...more
May 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book was a huge disappointment. The experiment sounded pretty interesting, but the book itself ended up as a superficial, boring account of a necklace timeshare. The importance of the necklace is ridiculously overstated and, worse, the most intriguing issues were unexplored (i.e., the juxtaposition of disposable wealth and expressed charitable purposes; the reasons several women left the ultrafabulous group; the group's annoyance with one member for seeking media attention, but their ...more
Sep 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
I came upon this book while browsing the library's new releases. I was curious about the story; 13 women go together in the purchase of very expensive diamond necklace. So I am thinking "Ok, this is like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for the baby boomer generation." I was also thinking that even at a little over $1,000 per person this is still a pompous think to do. Very much like "The Sisterhood..." this book promises that "the necklace weaves in and out of each woman's life, reflecting ...more
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and read it quickly. The idea that 13 women could own and share anything was what caught my attention, but to own and share a $28,000.00 diamond necklace just didn't seem possible! But they do and the story of how that works is amazing especially considering the diversity of the women. Rather than share my thoughts of the book here I'd like to share a couple of quotes that will give you a feel for what the book, the women, and the necklace are all about:

The book begins
Jennie Dopp
Mar 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Here we are, women who have been the beneficiaries of education, resources, reproductive choice, travel opportunities, the Internet, and a longer life expectancy than women have ever had in history. What can and will we do?"

I thought The Necklace was a unique look into the workings of women's groups and friendship. What made the book that much more enjoyable is that it is a true story.

Again, maybe it is just where I'm at in life, but this one was a quick read for me. I identified with most of
The Necklace is this year's "Pink Bookring" supporting breast cancer research*. The idea is that you read a book which honors or supports survivors of breast cancer and/or supports breast cancer research. Then you send it on to the next reader, including a pink giftie or two. The previous "Pink Book" was The Sunday Night Book Club, which I enjoyed. But this year's selection did not do it for me.

I do not like diamonds; I do not like the idea of diamonds; I do not like the politics of diamonds.
Sep 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Marsh
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Take a $37,000 diamond necklace, one woman with an idea and lots of energy, and a commitment of twelve others--and you have a unique story. Each woman who buys a share of the necklace, called 'Jewelia', (and they didn't pay full price), does it for different reasons and is affected in different ways. The women of Jewelia as a group have a profound influence on the community of Ventura, California, as they use the necklace for fundraisers, to boost self-esteem, share it for weddings and share it ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-christina
I give this book five stars, not because it was exceptional writing, but because it was a thought-provoking book. This is not a book about materialism. It is about relationships, the joy of generosity, and sharing with the intent of making others feel special and loved. I also liked that this book is about older women who find it out it's never too late to change your life or do new things. This would be a great book club discussion, or a nice one to discuss with a friend (or 13!)
2 1/2 stars

This book was lent to me by my good friend MaryLou. Unfortunately, it never really held my interest.
Cynthia Egbert
I am too fat and common to wear the necklace that is the focus of this book and so I almost tossed it aside but I am glad I didn't. This is not great literature but it was a fine reminder that, in the words of one of the women of this group, "Women friends are essential to a healthy life". There was one particular story that I needed for my own personal growth and while I don't need it as part of my library, I am glad I read this book.
Sarah Tobias
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
very inspiring book!
Mar 25, 2009 rated it liked it
First of all the book itself is just a simple narrative of the experiences of 13 women. The writing itself is nothing special so my review is just based on the subject matter.

Basically it tells of the experiences of 13 woman in Ventura California who decided to all buy into a $37,000 necklace that they would share. It seems that everyone who participated did it for different reasons. Some women did it to advance their political views, to make a statement about materialism and the nature of
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
2 1/2 stars
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
"The Necklace" wss a Book Club Selection. If it were not for the Book Club, I wouldn't have elected to read this book and would have really missed out. The premise is to organize a group of women to split the cost of an expensive diamond necklace and set up a system to share it.

Author Cheryl Jarvis writes, "The Necklace" can be summed up in a single sentence. "It's the story of 13 women who transformed a symbol of exclusivity into a symbol of inclusivity and, in the process, remapped the
May 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a great story of how 13 women from various walks of life came together to purchase an exquisite diamond necklace, to share amongst themselves. The author interviews several of the women, getting their histories and what they did when it was their turn to have the necklace.

An interesting concept that turned out a lot differently than Jonell, the person who originally saw the necklace, thought.

I found the read to be quite enjoyable, the concept something that I don't know would work for
Jun 16, 2010 rated it liked it
the premise of this book interested me when i saw it at the bookstore a while back.

one woman, jonell, finds a beautiful diamond necklace worht over $22k. she happens upon the necklace in an upscale jewelry store while on her lunch break, but she can't stop thinking about it.

she knows she can't afford it on her own, so she devises the idea that if several women shared the necklace, everyone could benefit from its divineness.

she finds twelve other women to share "jewelia" and so the
Sep 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
After the Traveling Pants idea, my friends & I talked about sharing a piece of jewelry- but never quite followed up on it. So I picked up The Necklace to see how it worked. It's a non-fiction account of 13 California women who jointly purchased & shared a $37,000 diamond necklace, in the process transforming the entire group. By elevating the act of sharing, the women added new depth & meaning to their lives in terms of friendship, charity, kindness & a living expression of the ...more
Nov 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
Thirteen baby boomer women in Ventura California pool together their money and purchase a share in an expensive diamond necklace. Each woman takes her turn wearing it four weeks a year. The book gives short bios on each woman, why and how she became involved, and what happened when it was her turn to wear the necklace.

The writing was sophomoric at best. If you read People magazine religiously (not that there's anything wrong with that) then Jarvis's writing style will be familiar. Had I based
Sep 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
True story of a group of women who pooled their money to purchase a diamond necklace to be shared among the group. It's an intriguing idea, and I liked the angle that these women grew and changed as a result of knowing each other. However, the author's writing style was so off-putting to me that it made the book unreadable. She relies on third-person present voice and spends way too much time on overly-descriptive details or in relating moods and emotions she couldn't possibly know. Do I really ...more
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, book-club
This was one of the fastest reads I can recall off the top of my head. In California a group of women went together to purchase a super expensive diamond necklace and then share it. In this book Jarvis essentially writes a short profile of each woman and their experiences with Jewelia (the club's name for the necklace). I am inspired by Jarvis' ability to put these profiles together in a way that not only tells the story, but also builds drama and tension as part of each woman's individual ...more
Jan 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a true story about 13 women pitching in $1,000 each to buy an expensive diamond necklace. Then the women get to have the necklace for a month at a time to wear.

The story isn't the sharing of the necklace, but how being a part of this group transformed many of their lives in dramatic ways. While the women had their differences as women will in a group, they came together to help each other as well as to raise money for charities. The friendships they had and the times they shared are a
Jan 08, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thirteen women purchased a 30K dollar diamond necklace together (after negotiating the price until each paid $1200). Two of the things that they LOVED about the necklace I abhor: feeling better about yourself because of material possessions and getting oodles of attention from said material object. It bothered me throughout the book. Their monthly meetings turned beneficial, as they planned charitable activities and philanthropic events. But it's still ironic that an expensive piece of jewelery ...more
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is one of those times where I wish there were one-half stars so I could have given it 4 1/2. I was captivated by the concept of what the necklace did to change positively the lives of it's joint owners as well as the community at large. Jarvis put their tales together in a very readable manner. The final chapter really makes the reader appreciate the incredible risk, success, diversity, creativity, etc. of the women who are owners of the necklace.
I really love reading about the power of
Sally Ewan
Aug 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is one of those "how did I find this again?" books....I think I saw it on Amazon and was intrigued by the premise--13 women sharing this necklace and how it all worked out. But it was an interesting story! The women were all very different. I was struck by how all of them really wanted/needed the connection with the other women. I am thankful for the women in my life, in my circle of friends. But I don't think I'd want any part of sharing jewelry with them!
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Cheryl Jarvis is a freelance journalist whose articles and essays have appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Chicago Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Woman's Day, Reader's Digest, and Writer's Digest. Her roller coaster career includes stints as a magazine editor, newspaper editor, TV producer, and full-time mom. A member of the American Society of ...more
“Can any of us pinpoint the moment when we've lost our younger selves, lost joy in the simple things, stopped celebrating life? For years-decades-we work, raise a family, plant begonias. Then one day we wake up to chemotherapy and eulogies and nursing home visits and the realization that we haven't had a real vacation in years. And all we can do is ask: how did life get so hard?” 3 likes
“In the past, Pracilla had always thought that the smarter and more successful you were, the more you didn't need other people, the more you could do it all yourself. Pracilla had never asked anyone for anything. Now she was starting to think differently. Maybe the smarter you were, the sooner you recognised you were in trouble and asked for help.” 2 likes
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