In France in the mid to late 1800's, a middle class married woman (Madame Loisel) wanted a lifestyle much more wealthy than hers. One day her husband (Monsieur Loisel) brings home an invitation to a ball, she is really exited to go, but she is upset because she doesn't have anything to wear.
Madame Loisel asks for four-hundred francs (dollars) to buy a new dress, Monsieur Loisel had been saving that money to buy a riffle to go hunting with friends. She also didn't have any jewelry to wear with a new dress if she got one.
Monsieur Loisel gives her the money to buy a new dress, and when she gets back he tells her to go ask to borrow some jewelry from her friend Madame Forestier. Madame Forestier lets her borrow a diamond necklace.
They go to the ball and Monsieur Loisel finds an unused room, while Madame Loisel has a great time dancing. When Madame Loisel is ready to go, they rush out trying to find a carriage. When they get home Madame Loisel realizes that she lost the necklace.
After a week of searching, Madame Loisel decides to buy a new necklace for her friend. She goes to the seller of the necklace's case and is told that only the case was bought there. Madame Loisel found a necklace like it, bought it and returned the necklace to Madame Forestier.
They had to move out of their house and into another family's house and sell their things to pay for the necklace for ten years. Madame Loisel sees her friend and tells her the necklace wasn't the original. Her friend tells her that the original necklace was only mad of paste.