Elizabeth Taylor jewellery

Elizabeth Taylor jewellery collection sold for $116 million at auction

Fashion

A collection of jewellery owned by the late Dame Elizabeth Taylor fetched $116 million at a New York auction last month.

The collection of 80 items had been estimated to fetch about $20 million, but sold for more than double the record for a single collection.

The highlight of the auction, organised by auction house Christie’s, was a necklace featuring a 16th Century pearl which sold for $11.8 million, a record for the gem.

The actress’ famous 33.19-carat diamond ring, given to her by actor Richard Burton, also sold for $8.8 million.

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 Taylor twice, bought the pearl in 1969 at auction for $37,000.

It was once owned by Mary Tudor and later by Spanish queens Margarita and Isabel.

Taylor commissioned French luxury jeweller Cartier to design a ruby-and-diamond necklace mount for the pearl.

It had been estimated to sell for $2 million – $3 million, but surpassed the previous auction record for a pearl, set in 2007 with the sale of The Baroda Pearls for $7.1 million.

The first lot to be auctioned, a gold and gem bracelet valued at up to $35,000, sold for $270,000.

Later, an ivory and gold necklace fetched more than 100 times its estimate of $1,500-$2,000, selling for $314,500.

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

Other highlights from the auction included the Taj Mahal diamond, another gift from Burton marking Taylor’s 40th birthday, which sold for $8.8 million, 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 for Taylor.

Another record, for a tiara, was broken when the actress’ third husband Mike Todd’s 1957 gift to Taylor sold for $4.2 million – about six times its estimate.

Christie’s spokesperson Marc Porter said the auction was “one of the most extraordinary sales” they had ever held, describing it as “a testament to the love of Elizabeth Taylor worldwide”.

Part of the proceeds from the auction will go to The Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation, which the legendary actress established in 1991.

Taylor died in Los Angeles in March at the age of 79.

Lana Galea View Comments

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