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Elizabeth Taylor - The Ultimate Jewellery Icon


22/11/2020 | Watch n Jewels

She has mesmerized movie audiences since her debut in National Velvet at the age of twelve, dazzled both men and women with her luminous beauty and iconic presence, displayed shrewd business acumen by creating a line of fragrances with unparalleled success, and her AIDS activism has been a call to arms for people around the world. She is Hollywood's greatest living star and a living legend -- Elizabeth Taylor.

One of her greatest passions is jewellery, and over the years she has amassed one of the world's foremost collections. By the time she was in her thirties, Elizabeth Taylor already owned an outstanding set of Burmese rubies and diamonds from Cartier, a fantastic emerald and diamond suite from Bulgari, and the 33.19-carat Krupp diamond, a gift from Richard Burton. That ring was later eclipsed by a subsequent gift from Burton, when he bought a staggering 69.42-carat pear-shaped diamond. Newly named the Taylor-Burton Diamond, it catapulted Elizabeth Taylor into that rarefied pantheon of great jewellery collectors.

In December 2011, a collection of jewels owned by the late Dame Elizabeth Taylor fetched $116m (£74.9m) at a New York auction.

Christie's sale of 80 items had been estimated to raise about $20m (£13m) but took more than double the record for a single collection.

The highlight was a necklace featuring a 16th Century pearl which sold for $11.8m (£7.6m), a record for the gem.

The actress' famous 33.19-carat diamond ring, given to her by Richard Burton, also sold for $8.8m (£5.7m).

The pearl, known as La Peregrina, has been depicted in artwork for centuries and was once painted by 17th Century Spanish artist Velazquez.

Burton, who married Dame Elizabeth twice, bought the pearl in 1969 at auction for $37,000 (£23,800).
It was once owned by Mary Tudor and later by Spanish queens Margarita and Isabel.
The actress commissioned Cartier to design a ruby-and-diamond necklace mount for the piece.

image caption Dame Elizabeth Taylor was known for her love of diamonds

It had been estimated to sell for $2 million (£1.3m) - $3 million (£1.9m), but surpassed the previous auction record for a pearl, set in 2007 with the sale of The Baroda Pearls for $7.1m (£4.6m).

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan, who was at the auction house, said applause broke out as the bidding passed $10m (£6.4m).

The first lot to be auctioned, a gold and gem bracelet valued at up to $35,000 (£22,500), sold for $270,000 (£174,000).

This emerald and diamond necklace by Bvlgari sold for $6.13 million. It was estimated at a lowly $1 million. This too was a gift from Richard Burton.

Minutes later an ivory and gold necklace fetched more than 100 times its estimate of $1,500 (£967) - $2,000 (£1,300), selling for $314,500 (£203,000).

One buyer also paid $600,000 (£387,000) for a diamond and sapphire ring given to the actress by her close friend Michael Jackson.

Other highlights included the Taj Mahal diamond, another gift from Burton marking Dame Elizabeth's 40th birthday, which sold for $8.8m (£5.7m), a record for an Indian jewel.

The per-carat record for a ruby was also broken by Burton's Van Cleef & Arpels ruby and diamond ring, a 1968 Christmas gift.

Another record, for a tiara, fell when the actress' third husband Mike Todd's 1957 gift to Taylor sold for $4.2 million (£2.7 million) - about six times its estimate.

Christie's Marc Porter said the auction was "one of the most extraordinary sales" they had ever held, calling it "a testament to the love of Elizabeth Taylor worldwide".

Taylor, who was best known for National Velvet, Cleopatra and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? died in Los Angeles in March at the age of 79.

The sapphire and diamond necklace by Bvlgari, a 40th birthday present from Richard Burton, sold for $5.9 million. It was expected to go for $600,000 to $800,000.

Sources: Elizabeth Taylor, My love affair with Jewelry - Simon & Schuster
BBC News
Business Insider

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