Remembering Elizabeth Taylor: Her Famous Jewels

24 March 2011

‘My mother says I didn't open my eyes for eight days after I was born, but when I did, the first thing I saw was an engagement ring. I was hooked’, Elizabeth Taylor once said of her love of jewellery. ‘Hooked’ being the operative word. Taylor’s love of all things sparkly was almost as renowned as her love of wedding cake, and right up until the end of her life she found comfort in the amazing collection of jewels she had amassed, with her publicist issuing a statement in 2008 to say that ‘she is surrounded by family, friends and fabulous jewels’. Something which Grazia Daily hopes applies to us when we are in our dotage. >hint hint<

Here, we take a look at some of Taylor’s most iconic pieces of jewellery, so sit back and drool with us as we look inside the jewellery box of perhaps the world’s biggest fan of bling.

The 33 carat Krupp Diamond ring is one of the most well known of all Taylor’s jewels. Purchased for $305,000 in 1968, the diamond was the first gift from Richard Burton during their marriage and Taylor subsequently wore the ring almost every day for the rest of her life; even when she was filming.

La Peregrina pearl is a large pear-shaped white pearl, discovered in 1513 and purchased again by Burton for Taylor as a Valentine’s gift in 1969. After purchase, the pearl was set as a pendant to a necklace made out of pearls, rubies and diamonds designed by Cartier.

Purchased by Taylor herself in 1986, the Duchess of Windsor brooch is a plume shaped diamond encrusted brooch that was designed by the then Prince of Wales for his future bride, Wallis Simpson. Taylor was a close friend of Mrs Simpson, and she purchased the brooch at auction after the Duchess’ death.

elizabeth taylor tiara

Burton wasn’t the only one of Taylor’s husbands to shower her with jewellery. Her third husband, Mike Todd, bought her an antique diamond tiara which she wore frequently during their marriage.

The Taj Mahal diamond is a yellow heart shaped diamond that was another present from Richard Burton. The diamond was a gift for Taylor’s 40th Birthday in 1972, with Burton joking that he ‘would have liked to buy her the Taj-Mahal, but it would cost too much to transport’. The diamond has 'Love Is Everlasting' in Parsee inscribed to the back,and Taylor had the original silk chain replaced with a diamond and ruby rope. Natch.

The 29 carat diamond ring that Taylor also received from Mike Todd was another of her most famous pieces, and one which she wore regularly.
Another gift from Burton was the Grand Duchess of Russia suite, a collection of emeralds and diamonds comprising a brooch (which was an engagement present from Burton), along with earrings, a necklace and bracelet. The suite was designed by Bulgari in Rome, and Taylor famously wore it to her 1964 wedding to Burton at Montréal’s the Ritz-Carlton hotel.

Probably the most famous of all Taylor’s jewels, however, is the 69 carat Taylor-Burton diamond. Bought rough by Harry Winston, the diamond was carved into a pear shape and discovered to be internally flawless. It was then put up for sale in 1969 on the understanding that it could be named by the purchaser. The stone was actually bought by Cartier (who paid $1.05million for it) but after some negotiations it was later sold to Burton for Taylor, under the understanding it could be displayed in Cartier’s stores. After she and Burton divorced for the second time, Taylor sold the diamond at auction for $5million, with the proceeds going towards the building of a hospital in Botswana.

See our favourite Elizabeth Taylor fashion moments and read tales from her hairstylist by clicking here.

- Alex Butt


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