Lindsay Lohan's bad taste in jewelry could be the key to her defense, because according to TMZ's research, the necklace in question may not have enough value to constitute felony grand theft.
In order to charge a defendant with a felony, the item in question must have a fair market value of more than $950.
Kamofie & Company was selling the necklace for $2,500. But we checked with three prominent jewelers in L.A., and they claim the price tag is grossly inflated.
The jewelers asked us not to identify their stores by name, but here's their assessment of the item. We gave them information from the necklace designer, who told TMZ it was comprised of 8.84 carats of natural, untreated yellow diamonds.
-- A Santa Monica jeweler told us the necklace is "a dime a dozen," and he wouldn't think of selling it for more than $1,000.
-- A downtown L.A. jeweler says if the item is retailing for $2,500, it means "the stone is cheap," adding, "It's most likely an industrial-type diamond, not gem quality." He says the necklace is worth no more than $900.
-- A San Fernando Valley jeweler says, "I don't believe this necklace has 8 carats of diamonds. It's so thin." She says the chain would sell in the jewelry district of downtown L.A. for $800 tops -- and probably less.
Under California law, if the necklace is worth $950 or less, Lindsay could only be charged with petty theft, a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is 6 months in L.A. County Jail -- and with jail overcrowding she's looking at a short stint.
If Lindsay's lawyer, Shawn Chapman Holley can convince the judge that the necklace is cheap, Lindsay could dodge the biggest bullet yet.