Out of all the extraordinary and famous jewels from Elizabeth Taylor’s spectacular collection offered for auction this month at Christie’s New York, perhaps the most intriguing pieces are the ones given to her by her life long love – Richard Burton.
The man she married twice gave her fine and rare pieces indulging her passion for jewellery.
The auction which exceeded all expectations included the sale of the famed Elizabeth Taylor Diamond. Burton’s first gift to her in 1968 was the 33.19 carat, D colour, Asscher cut stone. He purchased it for $305,000.
She wore it virtually every day
“My ring gives me the strangest feeling for beauty. With its sparks of red and white and blue and purple, and on and on, really, it sort of hums with its own beatific life.” The pre-sale auction estimate was US$2,500,000-3,500,000, however the bidding continued to climb.
The ring was finally sold for US$8.8 million
The spectacular diamond ring was bought by South Korean businessman Daniel Pang, who was bidding on behalf of E-land World, a South Korean retail group.
Pang said later that the conglomerate owns several hotels and plans to exhibit the diamond, as it has done in the past with historic memorabilia from the estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
The world-famous La Peregrina pearl, one of the most historic pieces, large drop shaped 16th century natural pearl, once owned by England’s Mary Tudor and later by Spanish Queens Margarita and Isabel was sold for $11.8 million, setting a new auction record for a pearl.
Burton bought the pearl at auction in 1969 for $37,000 as a Valentines gift for Taylor who then commissioned Cartier to design a ruby and diamond necklace mount. It had been estimated to sell for US$2,000,000 – $3,000,000.
Her dog almost ate the pearl just moments after she got it
“Twenty minutes after she put it on, she lost it. Landrigan presented the pearl and was chatting with Burton while Taylor left to try it on. She came back running saying, “I’ve lost the pearl!” Landrigan explained, “The room had pink shag carpeting, and I was crawling past a settee when I saw one of Elizabeth’s dogs, and I heard a crunch. I said, ‘Liz, I know where the pearl is!” Taylor grabbed the dog it spat it out. Apparently the pearl suffered just a couple of scratches.
For Christmas in 1968 Burton gave Taylor an 8.24 carat Van Cleef & Arpels ruby ring.
She almost missed seeing it at the bottom of her Christmas stocking
She later recalled that when she opened it, she saw “the most perfect coloured stone I’d ever seen.” The pre-sale estimate was $1,000,000 – $1,500,000 but the per-carat record for a ruby was also broken when the ring sold for US$4,200,000.
In a statement the actress’ son Chris Wilding said his mother would have been pleased with the auction. “She would be happy to know that her wish for her jewellery to be owned and enjoyed by others was fulfilled.”
Buyers included Kim Kardashian
Kardashian was the highest bidder at $64,900 for a set of Lorraine Schwartz bangles. “Elizabeth Taylor was an idol of mine and I’m honoured to now own something from her collection,” she said. “The Lorraine Schwartz jade bracelets are special because jade transfers energy, so I will cherish these bracelets with her energy in them for the rest of my life!