Friday, December 9, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor's Bedazzling Jewelry Auction Preview

By on Friday, December 09, 2011 3 Comments

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An extraordinary auction will soon take place. From December 13-15, Elizabeth Taylor's legendary collection will be sold at the Rockefeller Center in New York.

The sale of her bedazzling 270 pieces of jewelry alone will take two days. It's very rare to have such a large single owner jewelry collection to go on auction.

The range of styles and variety of jewelry is also extraordinary and speaks volumes of  her love of bling and her own inimitable style. No wonder some have dubbed her jewelry as Hollywood's Crown Jewels.

Two of her many husbands, Mike Todd and Richard Burton, not only bought her magnificent jewelry but historical significant pieces too.  One of her most famous necklaces is the historic La Peregrina Pearl necklace. This pearl drop dates back centuries. It once belonged to Queen Mary I of England ( Henry VIII's eldest daughter) - see my past post.

The Taj Mahal necklace shown below has a central heart shaped diamond surrounded by old mine cut diamonds and rubies. It has the Islamic date 1037 inscribed which is between 1627 and 1628. It is an unusually rare jewel which can be dated back to the Mughal empire in India.

It once belonged to Shah Jahan, the Mughal ruler who gave it to his favorite and beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.  She died in childbirth. He later built the Taj Mahal as her mausoleum.

Richard Burton bought the pendant for her 40th birthday joking that if he couldn't buy the Taj Mahal, then this would have to do! Elizabeth Taylor replaced the original silk cord with an adjustable diamond and ruby gold necklace.

As the collection is so large, here are just a few examples of the incredibly varied jewelry styles she adored. They are wonderfully inspirational to all of us.

These diamond earrings, a gift from Mike Todd, are a modern version of girandole earrings. These were the original chandelier earrings first worn in 17th century France when ladies started to wear their hair up.  The name comes from the crystal pendant candelabras of the time.

The Daisy parure by Van Cleef and Arpels is a a stunner with diamonds and chrysophase.
This Art Deco Egyptian Revival animal themed and pave gem set bracelet dates back to around 1925.

While most of us associate her jewelry with the expensive gemstones (see my tribute post), she displayed her sense of fun in some of her pieces such as this monkey inspired parure by Massoni.

This bejeweled elephant evening bag is also delightful. It features diamonds, rubies, cultured pearls and titanium

My personal favorite from her huge collection is this tassel parure with diamonds and aquamarine by Lynn Nakamura.

Not all her jewelry was expensive. Among the many smaller items was this geranium leaf inspired aluminum pair of earrings mounted in 18K gold by Jar of Paris. The auction estimate is $1000-$2000. 

 For even more pictures and slideshows of the Collection of Elizabeth Taylor, check out the Christies site

Christies estimates the jewelry will fetch at least $30 million. Will the final sum top the $50 million fetched for the Duchess of Windsor's jewelry back in 1987? Time will tell!  Part of the proceeds will benefit her favorite AIDS charity.

Watch this brief video of the auction preview exhibition of her jewelry, clothes and accessories.

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



  1. Love the historical stories, Pearl! Thanks!

  2. So much history wrapped up in such beautiful pieces. Thank you for sharing Pearl!!

  3. Wouldn't be grand if we could even see the pieces in person? If I won the lottery, I would have loved to bid on the Moghul necklace.