Sunday, September 25, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton-Can't Live With Him, Can't Live Without Him

I liked them best old, drunk and nasty.
We're all familiar with the tempestuous marriages of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton so I won't bore you with their legendary stories.  Sigh...we just don't hear those kinds of tales about today's celebrities. We're much more interested in news of recent plastic surgery, like Meg Ryan's jaw dropping corrective face's about time she noticed how weird she looked.  Or how scary skinny Kelly Ripa (who looks like she can't wait to throw up in the nearest toilet so she can get rid of that forkful of food she is allowing herself  just because she's being photographed) is.

Meg Ryan as the Joker on the left.  Today, post Joker surgery.

Gag...Ripa looks like a little boy but eats like an anorexic.

Taylor and Burton adored, hated, adored and hated each other. I believe they shared a unique passion for love and life, however, when you have sombrero sized egos, only one can fit in a room. Between both marriages, Burton bejeweled Taylor with some of the most important gems in the world...ever. There are so are the best of them.

The Grand Duchess Vladimir suite started off with the amazing emerald and diamond brooch Liz is wearing.  Burton and Taylor met in the early 60's on the set of Cleopatra. Their love affair caused so much gossip back then you would have thought they were filming porn.  As it was, Liz only showed a little cleavage in the movie. 
Burton built upon the Bulgari Grand Duchess Vladimir Suite in the early 60's when he added this magnificent Bulgari emerald and diamond necklace. Then, he went jewelry crazy.  The necklace pre-auction estimate: $1,000,000-$1,500,000; the pendant: $500,000-$700,000; the ring: $600,000-$800,000; and the earrings: $150,000-$200,000.

Burton said the only Italian word Liz new was "Bulgari".  I know a few curse words.

What happens to us?

Tiffany's, Jean Schlumberger, "Night of the Iguana" brooch, 1964.  Estimated pre-auction value $200,00-$300,000.

The Taylor-Burton Diamond, a 69.42 carat, D-IF, pear shaped stone, was purchased by Burton in 1967 from Cartier for $1.1 million.  The stone was quickly re-set into the more frequently seen cleavage necklace Liz dangled between her bubbies, because even Liz thought it was too big to wear as a ring.  In 1978, Taylor sold the stone for $3,000,000, two years after the end of her second marriage to Burton, in part to help fund a school in Botswanna (and is said to have later regretted selling it).  Today, the stone is reported to be in the hands of Lebanese diamond dealer, Robert Mouawad, who paid in the neighborhood of $5,000,000 for it and then had the stone re-cut to a more manageable 68.09 carats. This will not be in the Christie's auction.
The Krupp Diamond (now known as the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond), 33.19 carats, D- VS1, a gift from Burton in 1968 (purchase price then, $305,000).  Previously owned by Nazi sympathizer, Alfried Krupp, Taylor thought it funny a little Jewish girl like her wound up with the diamond.  She wore it almost every day of her life.  Estimated pre-auction value of $2,500,000-$3,500,000.

A close-up of "this old thang".
La Peregrina pearl.  Burton gave Taylor this historical bird's egg pearl in 1961.  It was once owned by Queen Mary I.  Extra necklace sparkly parts courtesy of Cartier.  Estimated pre-auction value of $2,000,000-$3,000,000.

The "Granny Suite".  Burton gave this Van Cleef and Arpels suite to Taylor in honor of her first grandchild at age 39, born in 1971.  Estimated pre-auction value of the necklace is $120,000-$180,000.

Van Cleef and Arpels "Granny" earrings.  Estimated pre-auction value of $25,000-$35,000.
The main component of the Bulgari sautoir is a 52.72 carat sugarloaf Burmese sapphire.  Burton gave this to Taylor in 1972 for her 40th birthday. 

Bulgari sapphire and diamond ring was added later.  Pre-auction value of $600,000.

The Taj Mahal diamond circa 1627.  This historically significant diamond was once owned by the man who built it.  Another outstanding gift given to Taylor by Burton for her 40th birthday in 1972.  Estimated pre-auction value of $300,000-$500,000

It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for those lucky enough to view Taylor's jewel collection while on tour this fall.  The proceeds of the sale, some of which will benefit the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, will leave a legacy for generations to come. Initial estimates of her collection are around $30,000,000 but experts believe it will be triple that, or more. I just can't believe her children, especially her daughters, are not lusting after at least one of the important gems in her collection - just to remember her by.

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