Thursday, March 24, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor - Her Lifelong Love Affair with Jewelry

By on Thursday, March 24, 2011 8 Comments

Elizabeth Taylor
Many of you may have already caught the news that one of Hollywood's icons, Elizabeth Taylor, just passed away at the age of 79.

She will be remembered not just for her film achievements but her flamboyant life. She loved the many men in her life but she also loved jewels and fine jewelry.

She explained her life long love of huge sparkling gems, "My mother says I didn't open my eyes for eight days after I was born, but when I did, the first thing I saw was an engagement ring. I was hooked."

The men in her life understood her love for serious bling and took every excuse to please her. She said in her book, "I mean, how many young women get a set of rubies just for doing something wholesome like swimming laps? Or win a diamond ring at Ping-Pong with their husband...? Well, I did, and for all of these memories and the people in my life I feel blessed." 

Cropped screenshot of Richard Burton and Eliza...Burton and Taylor in "Cleopatra" via Wikipedia

One of her husbands, Welsh actor Richard Burton, whom she married twice, gave her many outstanding pieces. The best known gifts from him includes the 33.19 carat Asscher-cut  Krupp diamond (1968) and the  69.42 carat pear shaped Taylor- Burton diamond (1969).  The latter cost Burton over $1 million. The diamond was later sold for $5 million. The proceeds went towards the construction of a hospital in Botswana.
Krupp Diamond
Indeed, she went on to auction off some of her jewelry including the $80,000 emerald and diamond engagement ring he gave her in 1962 to benefit her AIDS charity. She explained at the event, " Please know that it is not easy for me to give it away. It is only my commitment to AIDS that persuaded me to let it go. My love is inside that ring forever."

Burton not only enjoyed buying his wife jewelry, he also appreciated and selected historical pieces. One of her best known jewels is the La Peregrina pearl which dates back 500 years. See my past historical post on Elizabeth Taylor's La Peregrina Pearl. That pearl nearly became a dog snack!

Her jewelry collection is outstanding with pieces from the world's top jewelers like Cartier, Bulgari, Harry Winston and Chopard. She wrote a book featuring her jewelry aptly titled, Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry. There are drool-worthy pictures of the magnificent jewels and her wearing them as well as her delightful stories about the pieces.

She said in her book, "I'm fortunate to have some very important pieces of jewelry. I don't believe I own any of the pieces. I believe that I am their custodian, here to enjoy them, to give them the best treatment in the world, to watch after their safety, and to love them."

Love them? She certainly did.

Ruby and Diamond Necklace

Diamond Earrings circa 1830

Emerald and Diamond Necklace by Bulgari
Sapphire and Diamond Necklace

Sapphire Sugarloaf Cabochon and Diamond Necklace
Ruby and Diamond Earrings

  Before You Go :
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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. Fascinating look at the legendary jewels associated with the legendary lady!

  2. Now this is the elegy that I wanted to read today. Despite all her passionate excess, she still had the capacity to give that ring away. You captured it wonderfully, thank you so much!

  3. What a great summary and elegy! Thanks for sharing.
    Antique Jewelry

  4. Wonderful way to commemorate this inspirational lady!

  5. Pearl - look at you! You keep giving us tutorials, interesting historical background of gems, current trends and things I have never seen! And you put together a story on Elizabeth Taylor which is delightful yet respectful at the time of her death, and how she was so attached to jewelry. Your blog never ever gets boring and you mix it up so well! Great post. :)

  6. She was a fascinating woman who shared a love of jewelry with all of us - but not quite in the same league! If anything she had a good but far from boring life. She lived.

    Thanks for liking the mixing! I myself would get very bored writing the same sort of thing all the time.

  7. Liz was quite a woman. Bigger than life in everything she did. Life gave her a few hard knocks (like the loss of her husband Michael Todd, whom many say was her one true love) but she always recovered with grace and dignity. What a gal !
    Your tribute to this Grand Dame was perfection.