The reader meets Mathilde Loisel, the main character, who dreams about all of the luxurious things that should've been hers. Her husband comes home with tickets for a elegant party, but she becoms upset since she has nothing to wear.
Mr. Loisel gives Mathilde money to buy a nice dress, but then she becomes upset when she realizes she has no jewelry. So Mathilde relies on her friend Madame Forestier to lend her a nice necklace.
Madame Loisel was a great success at the party. She was the prettiest woman there. All the men tried to dance and introduce themselves to her, even the minister himself noticed her.
The necklace was fake!
Madame Loisel arrives home after the ball, and realizes the necklace is gone. They checked everywhere in their house, and even traced the distance they covered on the way home.
Madame Loisel spends ten years working to make 36,000 francs to buy a new necklace to replace the one she lost.
Madame Loisel runs into Madame Forestier, and she doesn't even recognize Mathilde. Madame Loisel now looks all old because shes been working for the new necklace. Madame Forestier breaks the news to Mathilde that the necklace was fake, and not worth more than five hundred francs.