The Jewelry Collection of Elizabeth Taylor
by Sasha t on Aug 22, 2023
Elizabeth Taylor may be best known as one of the greatest actors of the last century, but she is almost as well known for her exquisite collection of jewelry. This is made abundantly clear by the fact that after Taylor’s death in 2011, her jewelry collection earned $137.2 million at auction. This was the highest earning personal jewelry collection sale in history for over a decade, until just earlier this year when the controversial collection of late billionaire Heidi Horten collected nearly $202 million.
Elizabeth Taylor was a true jewelry connoisseur who loved the glamor of gorgeous jewels, but more-so appreciated the fine craftsmanship and passion it took to create these pieces.
We wanted to take a look at some of the most treasured items in Taylors collection - pieces that show the truly everlasting value of beautifully crafted jewelry.
The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond
Perhaps the most famous of all of her jewels, the Krupp Diamond, now known as the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, is a 33.19 carat Asscher cut diamond, gifted to her by her fifth husband, Richard Burton. Burton gifted Taylor this ring in 1968 while they were on their yacht moored on the River Thames in London. This diamond is a Type IIa diamond, which are the most chemically pure types of diamonds and have exceptional transparency. This diamond is not only exquisite for its size, but for its quality as well.
The Taylor-Burton Diamond
The Taylor-Burton Diamond is a pear-cut 69.42 carat diamond that was also purchased by Burton for Taylor. Originally called the Cartier Diamond, this ring was so significant to this couple, that it was renamed for them. Taylor wore this diamond as a pendant and also had it set into a ring. The story goes that wearing this diamond as a ring was even too big for her - so the pendant is much more prevalent in photos.
La Peregrina Pearl
The La Peregrina Pearl was a pear-shaped, 55.95-carat pearl that is one of the largest perfectly symmetrical pear-shaped pearls in the world. Translated to “the wanderer,” this first mention of this pearl in history dates as far back as 1513 when it is said that this pearl was brought back to Spain from Panama and worn by the Spanish royals of the time, with King Philip of Spain getting it to his wife, Queen Mary I of England. For the next many hundreds of years, it was worn by royals in Spain and Austria, until it was gifted to the older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte who willed this item to his younger brother. In exile, Napoleon sold this pearl to a Duke, whose family ultimately engaged Sotheby’s to help auction this piece off. This is of course, a wildly consolidated history of the pearl before it landed on Elizabeth Taylor’s neck.
Richard Burton (notice a theme?) acquired La Peregrina pearl for Taylor at said Sotheby's for $37,000. Taylor later commissioned Cartier to create a necklace featuring the pearl, surrounded by diamonds and rubies, which later sold at the auction of Taylor's collection in 2011 for $11 million.
The Bvlgari Sautoir
It is said that Richard Burton used to joke that “The only thing Elizabeth knows how to say in Italian is Bvlgari,” and the truth is that Taylor did have quite a love affair with the design house. Burton gifted her many exquisite pieces from Bvlgari over the course of their lives, but the two that really stand out in history are the Sapphire Sautoir necklace and the Emerald Suite.
The Bvlgari Sapphire Sautoir was given to Taylor on her 40th birthday by Burton. The extraordinary Bulgari design centers on a pavé-set diamond octagonal pendant set with a sugarloaf cabochon sapphire weighing approximately 52.72 carats. It has elegant calibré-cut sapphires and four bullet-shaped diamonds framing the pendant. The 29-1/2 inch long necklace echoes the pattern on the pendant with calibré-cut sapphires and pavé-set diamond links.
The Bvlgari Emerald Suite
Richard Burton gifted Elizabeth Taylor this suite at their wedding in 1964. Said to be one of Taylor's favorite pieces, the necklace of this set features nearly 61 carats of step-cut, octagonal emeralds, each surrounded by brilliant cut and pear cut diamonds. This suite featured a necklace, earrings, bracelet, and ring adorned with magnificent emeralds and diamonds. It became one of her favorite sets of jewelry and she famously wore it to accept her Oscar for “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
At Jack Weir & Sons, we hope to help every jewelry lover build a collection that brings them as much joy as Taylor’s did. And of course, here at Jack Weir & Sons, we’re always here to help you figure out how to make your dream collection a reality - we’re just one click or call away!
At Jack Weir & Sons, we’ve spent the last 40 years traveling to Europe and all over the world, curating extraordinary estate jewels. JWS is where the old world meets the new world. Celebrate life, preserve history, and discover your own priceless heirloom jewel. We are extremely grateful for our clients and the ability to help people to celebrate their special moments through one-of-a-kind jewelry. To share that gratitude and our strong family values, we chose to partner with Baby2Baby. So far, we've donated $125,000. A portion of every sale goes towards children living in poverty to provide them with diapers, clothing, and all the basic necessities that every child deserves.
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