This week I decided to write a post about Elizabeth Taylor and some of her amazing jewellery. While she will be remembered for being a great actress she will also be remembered for having amazing taste in jewellery, most especially diamonds! I knew that she was a collector of jewellery but it wasn’t until I went looking did I discover to what extent, it’s not many of us can say we have a diamond named after us!
She even had a book about her jewellery collection called ‘My Love Affair with Jewelry’. If you get a chance to have a look at it you’ll see the unbelievable size of her collection. Rather than try and cover everything I’ve picked out a few of her notable pieces.
3. The Krupp Diamond
This was the first piece of jewellery she received from her Richard Burton in 1968 and fair play, he didn’t disappoint! It’s an asscher cut diamond that has a weight of 33.19 carats and was set in ring with two small diamonds on the shoulders. I say small, but that’s only in comparison to the huge centre stone. I’m including a picture of her wearing it so you can get a sense of the size. The diamond was named after it’s previous owner Vera Krupp, the Krupp family had supplied the Nazi’s with arms during the war. When Taylor saw the ring she thought
how perfect it would be if a nice Jewish girl like me were to own it.
When Burton bought it at a New York auction it was the highest price ever paid for a diamond ring ($302,000). Taylor is quoted as saying
the Krupp was my prize for beating Richard at ping-pong
2. The Taj-Mahal
(The diamond not the place)
For her 40th birthday in 1972 Burton gave her a heart shaped diamond known as the Taj-Mahal. It was set with rubies and diamonds in a gold rope pattern necklace. Burton said ‘ I would have liked to buy her the Taj-Mahal but it would cost too much to transport’. This heart shaped diamond is inscribed with the words ‘Love is Everlasting’ in Parsee and can be traced back to the 1600’s. The diamond was given to Shah Jahan by his father who gave it to one of his wives Queen Mumtaz. He married her when she was only fourteen (he was fifteen). She went on to have fourteen children and when she died he erected the Taj Mahal as a tomb for her.
This was the best photo I could find of the diamond necklace.
1. The Taylor-Burton Diamond
By far the best known of Burton’s diamond purchases was a 69.42 carat diamond which became known as the Taylor-Burton diamond. The great thing about this diamond is that it can be traced right back to the mine. The stone came from a rough stone weighing 240.80 carats that was mined in the Premier Mine in 1966 which is just east of Pretoria, South Africa. The stone was bought by Harry Winston who had it cut into two stones. His cleaver Pastor Colon Jr. spent six months studying the stone before he made a single cut. The stone was marked, measured, erased and redrawn a number of times before he was happy with the cut. When stone was finally cut it was was set in a ring and bought by Mrs Harriet Annenberg Ames who returned it to be resold two years later as she said it was too big as she would find herself keeping her gloves on for fear it would have be seen.
According to Burton Elizabeth wanted the ring after he insulted her hands. He wrote in his diary
That insult last night is going to cost me
When the stone was put up for auction it was sold to Cartier for over $1,050,000 (Burton has listed a limit of $1 million). Determined to get the diamond Burton contacted Cartier and agreed to pay $1.1 million for the stone on agreement that the stone would be displayed in the Cartier stores in New York and Chicago. The diamond attracted ten thousand people a day. When the diamond was given to Taylor she had it set in a diamond necklace.
These are just three of her better known pieces of jewellery. I love that we can trace the history of these diamonds and link Elizabeth Taylor with such things as the Taj Mahal.