Elizabeth Taylor didn’t open her eyes for eight days, after she was born. When she did, the first thing she saw was her mother’s diamond engagement ring. This is the lore that lured Liz to the sparkling stones. In 2011, her collection of almost 300 pieces of jewelry, went up for auction. They were not only valuable in price, but rich in history, also. Richard Burton, Liz’s husband (twice) showered her in diamonds and jewels from all over the world. Her first outlandish piece wasn’t from Burton but, from her ex-hubby, Mike Todd. It was an antique diamond tiara, bought for Liz to wear to the 1957, Academy Awards, valued at $60,000-$80,000. Long-time friend, Michael Jackson gifted Liz a diamond wristwatch that’s worth, $300,000-$500,000.
The most famous pieces in Liz’ lair are from Richard Burton. They include, the 16th-century La Peregrina, one of the largest and most symmetrically perfect pear-shaped pearls in the world. Liz received this in 1969, as a Valentine’s gift from Richard (all I got this year was a box of chocolate strawberries!). Then there is the 33.19 carat diamond platinum ring, known as the Elizabeth Taylor diamond. Burton purchased the ring at an auction in 1968 for $305,000. Taylor wore this ring almost, everyday. By the far the best known piece is the 69.42-carat pear-shape, later to be called the Taylor-Burton Diamond. It was cut from a rough stone weighing 240.80 carats found in the Premier Mine in 1966. It was purchased from Harry Winston, the famous jeweler to the stars. All of these baubles, (including a set of sapphire orb-shaped earrings, known as “blue balls”! A taste of Liz’s sense of humor!) fetched over $30 million. Most of the proceeds went to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF), her legacy. Liz wrote an enormous, coffee table book about her collection and love affair of diamonds, aptly titled, “My Love Affair With Jewelry”. Her jewels can still be glimpsed on the necks, hands, and heads of celebrities and debutantes, from around the world.