I was deeply saddened to hear of Elizabeth Taylor’s passing today. Not only was she a groundbreaking movie star and a noted philanthropist (I actually named my beloved cat, Taylor, after her. Yeah. I’m that person.) – she shared a passion all of us here hold near and dear to our hearts. Jewelry.
No one personified the “lower jaw drop’ jewelry moment quite like Dame Liz, so in honor of her memory here’s a list of what I consider to be her top 5 gob-smacking glitter possessions for your drooling pleasure.
And for those of you moved by her life to reach out, I read that fans are encouraged to make donations to her beloved charity, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, a cause for which she raised over $50 million throughout her life. Wow.
1. Cartier Ruby and Diamond Necklace
Elizabeth Taylor was given this stunning Cartier creation by her third husband, Mike Todd, who tragically died in a plane crash thirteen months into their marriage. She writes of the piece in her book “Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair With Jewelry”
“I’d never seen anything like that in my life. I probably never will again. He was so generous, and he just took such care of me. I felt so protected. And loved.” (Indeed!)
2. The Taj Mahal Diamond
For Elizabeth’s 40th birthday, Richard Burton presented her with the historical Taj Mahal diamond – a flat heart shaped stone with inscribed Arabic, surrounded by rubies and diamonds and a yellow-gold necklace.
“I would have liked to buy the Taj Mahal for Elizabeth”, joked Burton, “but it would have cost too much to transport it.”
3. La Peregrina Pearl
Another gift from Burton, the Peregrina Pearl is thought to be the finest example of a pear-shaped natural pearl, weighing in a 55.95 carats.
The stone was once owned by the infamous Queen Mary Tudor of England and was set in a stunning necklace by Cartier in 1969.
4. The Krupp Diamond
Richard Burton’s first big purchase for his wife was the 33.19 carat Asscher-cut Krupp Diamond. Originally belonging to the Krupp estate, it was given to Miss Taylor in 1968 and was mounted on a ring, which made frequent public appearances.
The Krupps were a German family that supplied munitions to the Nazis and “helped knock off millions of Jews”, Taylor writes in her book. “How perfect it would be if a nice Jewish girl like me were to own it.”
5. The Taylor-Burton Diamond
Last but certainly not least is the record-breaking rock Burton purchased for Taylor that was the most expensive stone in the world back in the day clocking in at $1.1 million.
He acquired the 69.42-carat diamond from Cartier – the jeweler who also set the stone in a necklace for Taylor to wear to the 1970 Oscars. (see my rave about the piece here for more on that).
Taylor later sold the diamond treasure to raise money for a children’s hospital.
There are certainly many other jaw-dropping jewels associated with Elizabeth Taylor – the Bulgari emeralds, the bejeweled headresses, the tiaras – but these are my top 5.
Please weigh in with other Elizabeth Taylor jewelry thoughts you’d like to share. And raise a glass tonight in honor of Dame Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky. What a life.