The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor

The estate of Elizabeth Taylor (jewels, fashion, art, decorative art & memorabilia) is being auctioned by Christie’s over the coming months. A world tour of Ms Taylor’s legendary jewelry collection, an exhibition titled “The Crown Jewels of Hollywood” culminates with the sale in New York in December. ATL special correspondent Veronique Cremer lined up to see the exhibition in Paris.


Above: Portrait of Elizabeth Taylor (credit MTV Images); Snake Bracelet Watch by Bvlgari; The Taj Mahal Diamond Pendant Necklace; An Art Nouveau Enamel & Multi-Gem Brooch by Boucheron .

ATL's woman on the scene Veronique Cremer would have preferred a journalist accreditation. Without it, she had to join the line like everyone else, waiting an hour and a half outside on the street in the freezing cold. “Anyway,” she writes, “the waiting was interesting as I had plenty of time to speak with some other women, waiting and freezing like me. And we were mostly women,” she adds, “maybe one man to ten of us. The women I met had all come especially for the exhibit. Some were from Paris but many came from all over the country. I even met one who’d come from Ireland for this particular event, because she couldn’t get to London when the exhibition was on there!”

When Veronique finally got inside, she had a wonderful view of the legendary collection. The jewels are enormous (“we are not used to those sizes anymore”), every piece has a touching story; some are historic (like the famous Krupp diamond given to Taylor in1968 by Richard Burton, La Peregrina – the legendary pearl ruby and diamond necklace, again a gift from Burton, or a beautiful art nouveau butterfly brooch by Boucheron) some created more recently by iconic designers Dior, Cartier, Bvlgari, Van Clef & Arpels … diamonds and big precious stones, extraordinary in shape, design and craftsmanship, using the shape of the stone to light up the jewel as a whole.


Above clockwise: A Pair of Diamond, Sapphire & Cultured Pearl Ear Clips, by Jean Schlumberger, Tiffany & Co; Coral, Amethyst & Diamond “Dodecanese ”Ring by Van Clef & Arpels; Emerald & Diamond Ear Pendants, by Kutchinsky; The Mike Todd Antique Diamond Tiara; A Kunzite, Amethyst & Diamond Triphanes Sautoir, by Van Clef & Arpels; A Diamond & Gold Tonnelles Bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels; The Windsor Brooch; The Mike Todd Diamond Ear Pendants.

Highlights include the 33.19 carat Elizabeth Taylor Diamond that she wore virtually every day, the La Peregrina necklace (at 203 grains in size the 16th Century pear-shaped gem is one of the most important historic pearls in the world and was once part of the crown jewels of Spain) the Richard Burton Ruby & Diamond Ring, the Mike Todd Diamond Tiara, The Prince of Wales Brooch from the collection of the Duchess of Windsor, the Taj Mahal Diamond, the Bvlgari Emerald Suite, the Cartier Ruby Suite, plus numerous fascinating pieces like the Cleopatra Mirror, the Ping Pong Diamond Rings won as a wager on a game with Burton, and the gorgeous sentimental charm bracelets. “This is without doubt the greatest private collection of jewelry ever assembled in one place,” declares Marc Porter, Chairman and President of Christie’s Americas.


Above clockwise: A Pair Of Coral, Amethyst & Diamond “Dodecanese Bracelets by Van Cleef & Arpels; La Peregrine, A Natural Pearl, Cultured Pearl, Ruby & Diamond Necklace, by Cartier; The Daisy Parure A Suite of Diamond & Multi-Gem Reine Marguerite Jewelry by Van Cleef & Arpels; An Emerald & Diamond Necklace, by Oscar Heyman & Brothers; A Pair of Ruby & Diamond Ear Pendants, by Cartier; A Pair Of Diamond & Multi -Colored Sapphire Ball Ear Clips, by Jar; The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond of 33.19 Cts.

The collection, 80 of the most important jewels auctioned in an Evening Sale on December 13 and followed by 189 additional jewels in two Day Sales in New York is expected to achieve well in excess of 30 million dollars.

See the Crown Jewels of Hollywood exhibition at Christie’s 20 Rockefeller Plaza New York, December 3rd – 12. (NOTE: It’s a timed exhibition, buy tickets online)

- with special thanks to Veronique Cremer for her report, all jewellery images courtesy of Christie’s, portrait of Elizabeth Taylor courtesy of MTV Images