Elizabeth Taylor’s long love affair with Richard Burton, which included two marriages, yielded a treasure trove of jewelry that topped bidding at a spectacular $115 million auction of the actresses collection at Christie’s in New York.
Burton gave Taylor a 33.19-carat diamond ring that sold for $8.8 million and a pearl necklace that sold for more than $11.8 million. Both broke records for the auction.
The necklace, which features a signature pearl known as “La Peregrina” cost Burton $37,000 when he purchased it in 1969. Adjusted for inflation, it would have retailed today for about $270,000.
Check out the collection; click to enlarge.
Christie’s pre-auction estimate for the necklace ranged between $2 million and $3 million, so Taylor’s possession of it added considerably to its value.
In addition the signature La Peregrina pearl added value of its own. It dates back to the 16th century and once belonged to to King Phillip II of Spain and to Queen Mary I.
The 33.19-carat, D-color, potentially flawless stone, known as the “Elizabeth Taylor Diamond” was set in a ring given to her by Burton in May 1968. It was expected to sell for $2.5 million to $3.5 million.
Taylor a legendary screen star and film icon, who married eight times, died in March from congestive heart failure. She was 79.
She was an avid collector not only of jewelry from Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Chopard. but also of more than 400 fashion items spanning over 50 years of her life.
Among other hotly bid items was a diamond bracelet given to the actress by Michael Jackson, a life-long friend. It had an estimated sale price of $30,000 to $50,000, and sold for $194,500.
Taylor’s art, clothing and other memorabilia will be auction later this the week. Her collection of impressionist and modern art is scheduled to go on sale at Christie’s in London in February.
Many of her less expensive items are being auctioned online at Christie’s.com with some pieces selling for as little as $1,000, according to Christie’s.
Some of the proceeds will go to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, which she established in 1991 to help people living with AIDS.