By Michelle Graff

My wife gave me a book for Christmas titled The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis (Ballentine Books, 2008). The dust jacket reads Thirteen Women and the Experiment That Transformed Their Lives. Needless to say, the book got my attention.

If any true story proves what an emotional impact jewelry has on people--especially women--it's Jarvis' telling of a "time-share" experiment between 13 women and a white gold, 15-carat diamond necklace. The breathtaking necklace was purchased from Van Gundy and Sons jewelry store in Ventura, Calif.

I'll try not give away any of the book's secrets (there are many), but the 13 women pooled an equal amount of cash and bought the necklace together. The storeowner's wife became one of the 13. As agreed, the 13 "owners" would wear the necklace for 30 days before passing it on to the next owner.

But that process was just a small--even minor--part of the story.

The real message involved the emotional impact the necklace had on the self-esteem, self-confidence and pure joy of the wearer. This jewelry "time-share" (my expression) had a decidedly positive impact on the women and the people around them.

I guess the lesson from Jarvis' story is that jewelry consumers don't always buy jewelry solely on looks or aesthetics. The emotional impact that women get from wearing beautiful jewelry is--or can be--a strong purchase motivator. Do marketers spend enough time relaying that message to the jewelry consumer?

I'm not sure. Anyway, The Necklace should be left on every jewelry counter.

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