Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd - What A Guy!

If you can believe it, Kim Kardashian's engagement ring wasn't the biggest ever given.  Back in 1956, Mike Todd gave Elizabeth Taylor a 29.4 carat emerald cut diamond engagement ring, or as Liz referred to it, "my ice skating rink."

There's a lot of information out there that says Mike Todd may have been the love of Liz Taylor's life and it's said she continued to wear his wedding ring after his death.  Removed from the wreckage of the plane crash that killed him in 1958, Liz wore the twisted and charred ring on her right hand throughout her marriage to Eddie Fisher.   This did not bode well for their relationship...it lasted less than five years. 

Mike Todd certainly seemed to be the man who started her love affair with jewelry.  After the engagement ring in 1956, the following year he gave Taylor this antique Cartier tiara which Liz wore often.  Today, valued at $60,000-$80,000,  it is among items included in the Christie's auction this December.
Taylor at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival looking queenly and stuff.

Taylor was wearing this tiara poolside when Todd gave her the ruby and diamond suite pictured below. 


Soon after the tiara, Todd gave her the infamous ruby and diamond Cartier necklace, earrings and bracelet suite.  According to reports, Liz was already wearing the tiara in the pool when he gave her the suite - that's one reason to never have to put your head in the water.  Also included in the upcoming Christie's auction, the suite is valued at $500,000-$600,000.

Taylor originally saw these earrings made in "paste" (not real) in a jewelry boutique on Place Vendome in Paris and loved them so much she purchased them even though they were not made with diamonds.  Some months later she went to put them on and noticed a difference.  They looked clean and bright - and were heavier than she remembered.  When she asked Todd about them, he replied that he had them remade...this time with real diamonds.  Mike Todd was rully, rully good at understanding the little things that make women happy.

Todd treated Taylor like a queen in the short time they had together.  In 1958, he was killed along with three others in a fiery plane crash in New Mexico.  Liz was almost on that plane but wound up staying home with a cold.  Identified through dental records, according to Eddie Fisher (one of Todd's best friends), all that remained were Todd's wedding ring and a pair of platinum cuff links Fisher had given him.

In a ghoulish aside, almost twenty years after Todd's death, his grave was desecrated by thieves looking for a diamond ring Taylor reportedly placed in his casket before his burial.  A bag with Todd's remains (bone and ash) was located under a nearby tree.  He was later reinterred in an undisclosed location.

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