The main character, Mathilde Loisel, thinks she was born into the wrong family. She also thinks she is poor when she really is not.
Mathilde Loisel's husband gives her an invitation to a fancy dance. She started crying when she saw it because she does not have anything to wear or any jewels. Her husband gives her all his saved up money to buy a dress.
Mathilde Loisel goes to see her rich friend, Madame Forestier. She asks her if she can borrow a piece of jewelry. She borrows a diamond necklace.
Mathilde goes to the ball and has an amazing time. Everyone there is recognizing her. She is finally happy.
Mathilde realizes the necklace is gone. Mathilde and her husband have to loan a lot of money from different people to try and replace it. They end up being poor after they finally pay back all the money.
Mathilde sees Madome Forestier one day and decides to tell her what happened. She tells her that she replaced the necklace 10 years ago. Madome Forestier then tells Mathilde the necklace was a fake all along.