“Downton Abbey” is one of PBS's most successful shows in years, so cashing in on its popularity makes perfect sense. But the show was not thrilled with the public broadcaster selling a collection of “Downton Abbey”-inspired jewelry.
A "Lady Mary knotted pearl necklace and earring set” ($184.99) and a “Lady Sybil black pearl bracelet and earring set” ($159.99) were among the accessories that ShopPBS.org took off its shopping site on Tuesday afternoon.
“ShopPBS obtained jewelry from a number of third-party vendors and placed them within a collection of products dedicated to “Downton Abbey,” a PBS spokesperson told TODAY.com. “An email from the business affairs office of NBC/Carnival was received requesting that we remove these items. PBS complied immediately and the products are no longer being offered."
Earlier on Tuesday, the 38-item collection, which also included brooches and cloche hats in the style of the WWI-drama, was available on the site, although without the names of the show’s characters. Several hours later, the entire collection was gone. That morning, Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper reported that Carnival Films, the U.K. producer of the show, was “horrified” the public broadcaster was selling unauthorized jewelry, and that it did not return profits to Carnival Films.
“There is no dispute, it was a mistake on PBS’s part [to identify the jewelry with the show’s character’s,]” a Carnival Films spokewoman told TODAY.com, playing down the newspaper's report. Their request “was part of an ongoing conversation with PBS. It isn’t a big issue. We didn’t want viewers to think this was the jewelry that the characters wore.” (Carnival is part of NBC Universal. TODAY.com is part of msnbc.com, a joint venture of Comcast/NBC Universal and Microsoft).
But fear not, ladies: If you want to accessorize like the “Downton” look, there are plenty places to pick up period-style pieces. Check out our Downton Abbey shopping guide for ideas.
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Rachel Elbaum is a London-based writer who can't wait for season 3 of "Downton Abbey."