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Articles from DIAMOND JEWELLERY (975 Articles), PEARL JEWELLERY (353 Articles)

The ancipated auction of late actress Elizabeth Taylor's world-renowned jewels took in $US116 million.
The ancipated auction of late actress Elizabeth Taylor's world-renowned jewels took in $US116 million.

Liz Taylor’s Crown Jewels break records

Elizabeth Taylor’s jewellery collection netted over $115 million at its auction in New York this week.
The iconic actress’ stunning assortment of jewellery sold for USD$115.9 million (AUD$116.8 million) – the most valuable private collection of jewellery ever sold at auction.

Francois Curiel, Christie’s international head of jewellery said he was surprised at the prices achieved by the collection.

“We knew it would do well, but no one dared dream of $115 million,” Curiel told JCK. “Probably we will not see another sale like this for many years.”

Marc Porter, chairman and president of Christie’s Americas said nearly every lot sold well above its highest estimate and the auction served as a testament to the worldwide affection Taylor garnered.

After a ten-day public exhibition at Christie’s auction house, the epic ‘La Peregrina,’ a 16th-century natural pearl necklace by Cartier, sold for $11.8 million – the top lot and a world record for pearl jewellery at auction.

Given as a gift to Taylor from former husband, Richard Burton, the necklace was estimated to sell for around $3 million, Burton originally purchased the piece in 1969 for $37,000.

Two of Taylor’s most recognisable pieces, the 33.19-carat Elizabeth Taylor Diamond and the Taj Mahal Diamond, both sold for $8.8 million, as compared to their initial estimates of $3.5 million and $500,000 respectively.

Curiel explained that all items were initially valued intrinsically, allowing for the appeal of Taylor’s celebrity to lure buyers into bidding at much higher prices.  

“We valued every item based on what it would bring without Elizabeth Taylor,” Curiel said. “We wanted to let the market decide what premium it would pay for the value of the jewels [SIC] plus the provenance.”  

The opening lot, a gold and gem-set charm bracelet sold for $270,000 – more than ten times its estimated value of $25,000. Lot 45, a similar charm bracelet, sold for $160,000 after being valued at $6,000, a compelling example of just how much the market was willing to pay for the novelty of owning an Elizabeth Taylor keepsake.

Ironically, Taylor was a notable buyer in the 1987 sale of the Duchess of Windsor’s jewellery, which brought in approximately $50 million. Many believe that auction gave birth to a new breed of buyer, as private individuals demonstrated their willingness to pay for the provenance of a piece.

In a 25-year-old video shown prior to the auction, Taylor was seen bidding via phone for the Duchess’ jewellery and enthusiastically said, “it sounds like things that are really desirable are going for 10 times what’s expected”.

The Hollywood icon died in March aged 79 and was known for her love of jewellery. Two of her seven husbands, Richard Burton and Mike Todd were instrumental in her indulgence, showering the actress with some of the world’s most rare pieces.

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More reading:
Liz Taylor’s ‘Crown Jewels’ to be auctioned
Diamond sales continue to soar

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