Time Share Jewellery?

How many times have your gazed in wonder at the expensive items in a jeweller’s window and wished you had a chance to wear these wonderful items every now and again? A necklace worth upwards of £25k is out of most of our price brackets, but what about if we got together with a group of friends and clubbed together to buy it, arranging ownership of the jewels on a timeshare basis? This was exactly the idea which occurred to a Californian woman, but her timeshare necklace scheme didn’t exactly turn out as she had expected.

How It Started

As an estate agent in an upmarket area of California to the north of Los Angeles, Jonell McLain was not exactly living a hand to mouth existence, but was not on the sort of income which would allow her to splash out several thousands of dollars on a necklace either. One day though she spotted the most beautiful diamond necklace in the window of the local jeweller’s shop, with a price tag of $37,000. A few weeks later the necklace was still unsold, and had been reduced to $21,000 in the sale. When the shop announced that they were holding a special promotion whereby customers could offer sealed bids for whatever amount they felt reasonable, Jonell hatched her plan of roping her friends in to buy the necklace between 12 of them, and each person would be allowed to keep it for one month in the year.

Sealing the Deal

On the day of the promotion, Jonell had only found 6 other women willing to share in her scheme. Her plans were to go ahead and place the bid for the necklace and hope that by the time her credit card bill came in that she had recruited some more interest. The jewellery store owner was intrigued by her plan, and after some haggling over the price, agreed to sell the group the necklace on the condition that his wife be allowed to be part of the group too. Jonell managed to recruit the extra investors needed, and the deal was done.

Trouble and Arguments

The initial meetings of the group went well, and the members bonded over the shared love of the jewellery and managed to thrash out terms about who should have it when. However, everything started to go wrong when one of the members offered the necklace to a friend’s daughter as the “something borrowed” for her wedding. Other members of the group were livid that they had not been given the chance to wear it yet, and it was being loaned out. Lots of tears and tantrums followed, and although the group’s differences were finally ironed out, friendships were permanently damaged. There is no reason that this sort of timeshare arrangement for jewellery could not work here in the UK, but at the moment the major trend in jewellery is for fashionable, wearable jewellery such as an Estella Bartlett necklace which is easily available online, rather than for ultra-expensive platinum and diamonds from Cartier or Tiffany’s.

  • Photograph by Bryan Brenneman Via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
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This interesting article was written by guest blogger Morag Peers with The Alphabet Gift Shop who sell wonderful ranges of affordable and fashion forward jewellery like the Estella Bartlett necklace and Martine Wester earrings.

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