The famous jewels of the late Elizabeth Taylor have smashed the record for a single-owner jewellery collection auction – fetching an astonishing 88 million euro.
Eighty items from Taylor’s personal collection were put under the hammer at the infamous auction house Christie’s, including pearls, diamonds, charm bracelets and more.
Although diamonds are firmly believed to be a girl’s best friend, this auction surpassed all expectations of what sums it was likely to raise. The Irish Times has reported 20 million dollars (15 million euro) to be the final figure that was predicted, so for Taylor’s jewels to fetch almost six times that amount is quite astonishing.
Taylor’s collection also fetched more than double the previous record holding single-owner jewellery auction, which saw the Duchess of Windsor’s jewels sell for just over 50 million dollars.
The very first piece to go under the hammer was a charm bracelet which had been estimated to fetch in the region of $30,000. It actually sold for $326,500, which set the precedent for the rest of the auction.
Another item sold early on in the auction was an ivory and gold necklace featuring theatre medallions, which sold for more than 150 times its original estimate of value!
The biggest seller however was one of the most historic pieces in the collection, a 55 carat pear-shaped pearl which dates back to the 16th century. This beautiful lot, set in a Cartier commissioned ruby and diamond necklace mount, once belonged to Mary Tudor as well as the Spanish queens Margarita and Isabel, so has quite strong regal connections.
The fact that it was given to Taylor as a gift, as was much of her treasured collection, by husband Richard Burton, added extra sentimental value to this item which, while estimated to sell for two to three million dollars, actually went for a breathtaking 11.8 million dollars and set an auction record for a pearl.
Another treasured gift to Taylor from Burton that went under the hammer was her famous colourless diamond. Now re-named The Elizabeth Taylor diamond, this giant rock sold to a South Korean businessman who has plans to exhibit it.
An Indian diamond known as the Taj Mahal diamond was also sold – with each magnificent rock fetching 8.8 million dollars.
Taylor’s son Chris Wilding said that his mother would have approved of the auction, and that it was her wish for her jewellery to be owned and enjoyed by others.
Christie’s were also over the moon with the auction, with president and chairman Marc Porter quoted as saying that the auction was ‘one of the most extra-ordinary sales that Christie’s has ever had’ and ‘a testament to the love of Elizabeth Taylor worldwide.’
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