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Elizabeth Taylor’s ‘Crown Jewels of Hollywood’ Coming Up for Auction

by Allan Maurer (11/28/11).

Christie’s will be holding an exclusive sale of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry from Dec. 3 to Dec. 17. Some 950 pieces will be available for bidding on its online gallery.

A selection of 2,000 items from what some call “The Crown Jewels of Hollywood,” Elizabeth Taylor’s incredible collection, will hit the Christie’s auction block this December. A special, online-only component of the sale includes more than 500 pieces of fine and costume jewelry for the online-only sale, including exceptional Art Deco-era jewelry and an array of signed jewels by Cartier, Chanel, Christian Dior, and Ruser, among others.

The sale will run from Dec. 3 to Dec. 17. While Christie’s has offered bidding online since 2006, this is the first time the auction house will host an exclusive online addition to a private collection sale.

The entire Collection of Elizabeth Taylor sale mirrors the incredible offering of top designer gowns, coats, capes, handbags and designer goods that will be featured in the live auction.

The 33.19-carat Krupp Diamond set in a ring.

The pear-shaped, 69.41-carat Taylor-Burton Diamond.

I met Elizabeth Taylor twice, once at an event in Roanoke, Va., where she spoke about her film, the children’s fantasy, “The Blue Bird,” from 1971. The second time was when she spoke at a Belk’s store in Charlotte, N.C., which still sells an Elizabeth Taylor “White Diamonds” line of cosmetics.

Both times she was impeccably dressed, although not quite so lavishly at the Virginia event, which she attended with then-husband and U.S. Senator from Virginia, John Warner.

She traveled to the Belk promotions with her small white dog, which she petted while responding with quick wit to audience questions. She wore a necklace with a diamond big enough to sink a canoe.

The 50-carat La Peregrina Pearl had once been owned by Queen Mary I of England.

Richard Burton—her fourth and fifth husband—said when he met her in 1952, “She was unquestionably gorgeous. I can think of no other word to describe a combination of plentitude, frugality, abundance, tightness. She was lavish. She was a dark unyielding largesse.”

Taylor loved jewelry passionately. At her death, her jewelry collection was estimated to be worth $150 million. Burton gave her three of her most famous jewels, including the 33.19-carat Krupp Diamond, which she wore every day as a ring. He also gave her the pear-shaped Taylor-Burton Diamond, a whopping 69.41-carat gem.

Burton presented her with the 50-carat La Peregrina Pearl as a Valentine’s gift in 1969. The pearl had once been owned by Queen Mary I of England, who ruled from 1553-1558.

Taylor wrote a book about her jewelry collection, “My Love Affair with Jewelry,” published in 2002

The Elizabeth Taylor diamond (33.19 carats, D color, potentially internally flawless) has an estimated value of $2,500,000-$3,500,000.

Taylor wrote a book about her jewelry collection, “My Love Affair with Jewelry,” published in 2002 with photographs by John Bigelow Taylor (no relation to Elizabeth, but a specialist in jewelry photography).

In addition to jewelry, Taylor’s gowns and accessories always commanded attention. She gave some of the gowns and costumes from her film career to Debbie Reynolds, and some were sold during the recent auction of items from Reynold’s extensive collection.

Items up for bid in the online-only collection that starts Dec. 3, include:

• A gold, sapphire and Mississippi pearl hummingbird brooch by Ruser, valued at between $2,000 and $3,000.
• A multi-gem ring by Chaumet valued at up to $500.
• A coral and tigers eye fish bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels valued at from $1,000 to $1,500.

Costume jewelry up for sale includes:

• A Navajo silver and turquoise squash blossom necklace valued at $400 to $600.
• An Art Deco Bracelet by Jac expected to bring from $100 to $200.

Considering the way prices have exceeded estimates at auctions of celebrity related items in the last few years, some of these prices are sure to be exceeded.

On the other hand, the really expensive jewels up for sale offline include The Elizabeth Taylor diamond, rectangular-cut diamond ring of 33.19 carats, D color, potentially internally flawless, with an estimated value of $2,500,000-$3,500,000.

Allan Maurer is a Worthologist who specializes in Hollywood and movie memorabilia and the publisher of the web site BestFilmFests.

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