Elizabeth Taylor’s Precious Jewels, Gowns Take the Crown at Auction

Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
  • The top lot of the sale was the legendary 16th century pearl La Peregrina which realized $11,842,500.

    The top lot of the sale was the legendary 16th century pearl La Peregrina which realized $11,842,500.

    Christie's

Seven world records were set at the jewel auction of the late Hollywood screen legend, and ardent jewelry lover, Elizabeth Taylor, that took place at Christie’s New York this week.

On Tuesday, 80 singular lots were offered and all 80 quickly sold, fetching a total of $115.9 million, making it the most valuable private collection of jewels ever sold at auction.

Many pieces soared well above their pre-auction estimates for sky-high prices which some say were based more on the intrinsic value of the jewels than the mystique of the actress. At times, the bidding was so fast and furious that the auctioneers were unable to keep up as bids jumped by more than $1 million.

The biggest moneymaker was a 50-carat pearl, diamond and ruby necklace by Cartier that set a world auction record for a pearl jewel at $11.8 million (Estimate: $2-3 million). The necklace, known as “La Peregrina,” was a Valentine’s gift from Taylor’s husband twice over, actor Richard Burton.

That wasn’t the only gift from Burton to make the record books; a ruby and diamond ring he gave to Taylor for Christmas sold for $4.2 million, setting the record for a ruby per carat, and a historic diamond dubbed “The Taj Mahal” broke the record for a jewel mined, cut and polished in India. 

Also, shattering a record was a 33.19-carat diamond ring called “The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond,” which sold for $8.8 million, more than twice the pre-sale estimate.

On Thursday, a Christian Dior evening gown of silver encrusted brocade swept to $362,500 from a $4,000-6,000 estimate. The $2.6 million sale was topped by a signed 1964 Andy Warhol lithograph depicting Taylor on a red background with green eye-shadow and red lipstick, inscribed “To Elizabeth, with much love.". It brought $662,500 from an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.

Auctions of Taylor’s estate continue through Friday in New York. A portion of profits will be donated to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, according to Christie's.

A sale of the star's Impressionist and Modern art collection is scheduled at Christie’s in London in February.

(Report: Christine Bolli for ARTFIXdaily)

More News Feed Headlines

Mallett's booth at the 2014 San Francisco Fall Antiques Show.  Brodie Neill's Glacier Chair at center.

Gold Rush at the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show

  • October 27, 2014 23:13

A six-pound gold nugget and an 800-pound glass chair were big draws at a dazzling edition of the ...

Read More

Damien Hirst at White Cube during Frieze Week 2014.

Hirst's Formaldehyde Fish, Warhol's Scream Lure Buyers at Frieze

  • October 23, 2014 22:57

Damien Hirst's formaldehyde fish ranked among the top sales during a $2.2 billion Frieze Week in London.

Read More

Rendering of the National Museum of the United States Army, set to be built at Fort Belvoir, Va.

U.S. Army Readies to Buy Trove of World War I Artworks

  • October 22, 2014 22:33

The U.S. Army has petitioned for $600,000 to acquire a collection of 23 artworks created at the battlefronts of World War I. The rare group of paintings are by...

Read More

Louis Béroud (1852-1930) View of the Salle Rubens musée du Louvre, 1904.

Painting Missing from Louvre Since WWII Surfaces in Auction

  • October 21, 2014 16:28

A painting of the French king Henri III (1551-89) that disappeared from the Louvre during the Second World War turned up at a Paris auction last week

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar

63048535

ArtfixDaily Artwire