Elizabeth Taylor Jewelry Auction
By Devorah Isenberg , Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The legendary jewelry collection of Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor sold for a record-breaking $115.9 million at a Christie’s auction last week in New York. Combined with her haute couture and other possessions, the total auction amount totaled at $153 million, the largest sum ever raised by a single auction at Christie’s.
The single most expensive item was a diamond and pearl necklace known as La Peregrina, which sold for over $11 million. The necklace had been created for Taylor using the teardrop pearl purchased for her by her husband, Richard Burton, in 1969. Taylor’s famous cognac diamond fetched $2.3 million at the same auction.
Although actress and activist Taylor was known for her vast collection of fine jewels, including the 33-carat Taylor-Burton diamond ring, she claimed that she never set out to amass such a collection. “I have been incredibly lucky,” she told Harper’s Bazaar shortly before her death last March. “I have been the temporary custodian of some incredible and beautiful things.” The beloved Hollywood icon, who was very involved in AIDS research in the last decades of her life, arranged for an auction of her personal effects to benefit the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
In its second day alone, the auction took eight hours and demanded the attention of three auctioneers. The online portion of the auction, featuring the star’s smaller and less iconic pieces, continued throughout this past week.
Other stars aspire to follow in Taylor’s iconic footsteps, and flocked to the auction in hopes of owning a piece of the venerable star’s collection. One star who made a point of patronizing the auction was reality TV starlet Kim Kardashian, who purchased Taylor’s Lorraine Schwartz diamond and jade bangle bracelets for $64,900. Although Kardashian had planned to purchase replicas of the bracelets from the jewelry designer directly, she was reportedly thrilled when Taylor’s actual pieces, which she wore nearly every day in the last years of her life, were put up for auction.
Kim said she would wear the set of three white, black and lavender jade bangles all the time, as a reminder and inspiration of her hero, Elizabeth Taylor. She told reporters, “If you have a piece of jade, the energy goes into the piece and you absorb the energy. So I can feel Elizabeth in the piece.”
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