Elizabeth Taylor's Legendary Jewels Set New Record for Single Collection at Auction

Elizabeth Taylor's Legendary Jewels Set New Record for Single Collection at Auction

Liz's jewelry collection surpasses their estimates when being auctioned at Christie's New York, with her La Peregrina pearl necklace being sold for a record $11.8 million.
Elizabeth Taylor is breaking one record after another with her world-renowned jewels. Christie's was auctioning off the late Hollywood legend's jewelry on Tuesday, December 13, and by the end of it, her collection has broken the record for a single-owner jewelry collection and set new ones for pearls, colorless diamonds and Indian jewels, Reuters reported.

The sale of the 80 items from Liz's collection was estimated to raise about $20 millions, but in reality, it took in $116 millions since all of the jewels were sold many times their estimates. In fact, just halfway into the four-hour sale, it smashed the single collection record set in 1987 when the Duchess of Windsor's jewels sold for just over $50 millions.

The Oscar winner's rare pearl necklace from one-time husband Richard Burton, in particular, started a bidding battle. The 203-grain pear-shaped 16th-century pearl, known as La Peregrina, was expected to sell for up to $3 million but turned out bringing in $11.8 million, a record price for any pearl ever sold at auction.

Another record-breaking item was Liz's iconic 33.19-carat diamond, which Burton had bought for $300,000 in 1968. It was sold for $8,8 millions, or about three times its estimate and set a per-carat record for a colorless diamond. The actress' Taj Mahal diamond also made a record for an Indian jewel when it was sold for over $8 millions.

Burton's Van Cleef & Arpels ruby-and-diamond ring, which was a 1968 Christmas gift, also broke a per-carat record for a ruby. Another broken record came from Liz's 1957 gift from third husband Mike Todd. It set a new record for a tiara after it was sold for $4.2 millions, or about six times the estimate.

Liz, who passed away in March due to heart failure, has previously expressed her love of gems in her 2002 memoir, "My Love Affair With Jewelry." She wrote in the book, "I never, never thought of my jewelry as trophies. I'm here to take care of them and to love them. When I die and they go off to auction I hope whoever buys them gives them a really good home."

The jewels auction is part of the four-day auction from Liz's estate in New York which include her haute couture clothing and designer handbags. The auction will continue on Wednesday, December 14 with the selling of her haute couture, including the dresses she wore from her two weddings to Burton. Part of the proceeds will go to the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation.

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