It’s no secret Elizabeth Taylor had one of the world’s most enviable jewelry collections – from the infamous 69.42 carats Taylor-Burton Diamond, to the La Peregrina (a pearl once owned by Queen Mary I of England), to the Taj-Mahal Diamond, she not only had large jewels but historical ones, most of which were given to her by her fifth (and sixth) husband Richard Burton.
But I imagine emeralds had a special place in her heart because it was an emerald ring that was the first gift Richard Burton ever gave her in 1962 – well before the much-written about 33.19-carat Asscher-cut Krupp Diamond in 1968.
The emerald ring is known as the “Taylor Burton fiancée ring” which sold at auction in 2011 for US$3,330,500 from its US$600,000 to $800,000 estimate.
Other green gifts from Burton included an entire Bulgari suite which includes a necklace with a detachable brooch/pendant, a bracelet, and earrings. The pendant alone achieved US$6,587,500 at the Christie’s auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s estate in 2011. The ring sold for approximately US $3 million, the necklace for around US$6 million and the bracelet for just over US$400,000.
Miss Taylor also owned this en tremblant emerald and diamond spray brooch, also a gift from Burton, that she wore several ways – sometimes traditionally pinned to her dress and sometimes in her hair as a kind of tiara . . .
This suite of emeralds is so well documented – it’s no wonder their prices soared way way above estimates. There are many publicity shots with Miss Taylor wearing these pieces at various Hollywood events and galas of the era. She even wore the brooch on her wedding day to Burton in 1964 setting it against a yellow dress by Irene Sharaff (the costume designer who worked on Cleopatra – the Hollywood epic which sparked the legendary romance between Taylor and Burton.)
These emeralds are so well loved, Miss Taylor wore them into her sunset years and is famed for having quipped “I’ve GOT to have my emeralds!”
I’m so happy the suite stayed together in the end (unlike their owners, but alas . . . ) because Bulgari bought back Taylor’s iconic pieces from its collection from the record-setting Christie’s auction and put them on display in its Beverly Hills boutique for three weeks between Feb 19 and Mar 10, 2013. The exhibit included Burton’s engagement ring to Taylor.
- Cannes Film Fest to mark “Cleopatra” 50th anniversary (panarmenian.net)
- “Cleopatra” 50th Anniv. Hits Stores (lezgetreal.com)
- Got Green Envy? (laluxore.com)
- 10 Surprising Facts About Elizabeth Taylor’s Famed Jewelry Collection (thevivant.com)