Diamonds Shine Light On Friendship

diamond necklaces
It has long been said that diamonds are a girl's best friends. But have you ever heard of diamonds helping 13 women become best friends?

This week's People magazine profiled a group of women from California who decided to buy and share a spectacular diamond necklace worth $37,000. But in the end, they wound up with so much more than they bargained for.

It all started when Jonell McLain, 59, of Ventura, Calif., saw the diamond necklace in the window of Van Gundy & Sons Jewelers in August of 2004.

"I felt really comfortable trying it on. I couldn't resist it," McLain tells The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler. "I tried it on, and it was absolutely beautiful."

McLain initially wondered how anyone could buy anything that cost that much, especially when there are starving children in the world.

"The world where I live, $37,000 for something like this, when people are hungry, doesn't really compute," McLain says. "But to take something like this and make it about sharing with your friends. It actually has a meaning beyond just owning."

McLain started telling her friends about the necklace and soon some of them were going to the store to try it on, too.

Priscilla Van Gundy was not in McLain's circle of friends, but when McLain gathered her 11 friends and made the storeowner an offer, Tom Van Gundy agreed to take her offer only if she would include his wife in the group.

"At that point, I had lost my sister, Doreen," Priscilla Van Gundy says. "It had been a very difficult time for the whole family. But Tom had been negotiating with Jonell the whole time. It seems like all these women kept on coming in and the level of the noise just kept on rising. He just saw the snowball effect of this noise level and this happiness and he wanted me to be part of that. He was sweet about that, and they included me."