'To be able to have it all you have to be able to give back"
" It's not the having it's the getting" said Elizabeth Taylor once on an interview when asked how she felt to be the owner of a brand new stunning diamond tiara.
This week I was kindly invited by Jaime Bernice head of the PR department at Christie's to admire in private one of the most spectacular jewelry collections in the world , the the celebrated film star, fashion icon, and humanitarian and my forever inspirational archetype Elizabeth Taylor .
Not only I was surprised by the quantity of breathtaking gemstones, historic jewels, and one-of-a-kind creations, , including an iconic 33.19- carat diamond ring and a 16th century pear-shaped pearl from one of her seven husbands, Richard Burton but of the magnitude of her haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion accessories, masterfully and theatrically displayed among several rooms of the notorious auction house.
Any privileged visitor of the three months tour in Geneva, Paris, Hong Kong, Dubai Los Angeles London and Moscow who personally viewed this spectacular showcase of colorful taste and power prior to the ending auction in new York city, was undoubtedly dazzled with tremendous impact by the late Hollywood star luminous beauty , lavish lifestyle and an unquenchable passion for diamonds and jewels that was fueled by the great loves of her life.
A total of 269 magnificent jewels from this storied collection is estimated to achieve well in excess of $30 million and will be auctioned here in New York on Dec. 13-14. Serious collectors will be able to try on exquisite examples from the most celebrated of jewelry designers, including BVLGARI, Boucheron, Cartier, JAR, Schlumberger, Tiffany, and Van Cleef & Arpels, among others by appointment. About 500 pieces of Taylor's costume jewelry will be sold online at the same time.
Christie's jewelry expert Rahul Kadakia explains "They're from moments in that were very dear to her," jewels that were purchased in Bulgari in Rome, at Cartier in New York and at auction. The stories behind them are as priceless as the gems themselves. In a 2002 memoir, "My Love Affair with Jewelry," Taylor took readers on a personal journey of her collection, describing in her own words how she came to own each piece.
"I never, never thought of my jewelry as trophies," she wrote. "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." It's an extraordinary collection of rubies, diamonds, emeralds and sapphires in intricate and bold designs , treasure troves of personal mementos and beloved gifts.life Among the standouts is the 16th-century La Peregrina, one of the largest and most symmetrically perfect pear-shaped pearls in the world, which Burton purchased for Taylor in 1969 as a Valentine's Day gift. The two had met in Italy on the set of the 1963 film "Cleopatra," and married for the first time in 1964.
Once part of the Crown Jewels of Spain, the pearl later passed into the hands of Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon III and the Duke of Abercorn. When it came up at auction in New York, Burton snapped it up for $37,000, beating out the underbidder, a member of the Spanish Royal family.
Cartier later created a ruby and diamond necklace from which the pearl was suspended, a design that was inspired by the famous Velazquez portraits of Spain's Queen Margarita and Queen Isabel wearing the pearl as a necklace. It is estimated to fetch $2 million to $3 million.
Taylor, who was married eight times - twice to Burton - died in March at age 79. The couple appeared together in about a dozen films, including "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" in which Taylor played an alcoholic shrew in an emotionally sadomasochistic marriage.
Burton was enamored of historical pieces, and in 1972 purchased the famous 17th-century Taj Mahal diamond pendant for Taylor's 40th birthday. The transaction took place at John F. Kennedy International Airport because the couple didn't have time to run into the city before catching a plane, said Kadakia.
The heart-shaped diamond is associated with one of history's greatest love stories. It belonged to Emperor Shah Jahangir, who had the diamond inscribed with his wife's name "Nur Jahan." He later passed the stone on to his son, Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife Mumtaz, who died in childbirth.
"I would have liked to buy her the Taj Mahal but it would cost too much to transport," Burton remarked after buying it. Cartier later recreated the diamond's original silk cord as a gold rope-like necklace set with rubies and diamonds. The necklace has a pre-sale estimate of $300,000 to $500,000.
"Jewelry was a way of life for Elizabeth Taylor. They were her friends. She enjoyed wearing them and it gave her a lot of pleasure because they reminded her of the great moments in her life, the great places in her life," Kadakia said.
Like the time Taylor's third husband, theater and film producer Mike Todd, presented her with a red leather Cartier box as she sat by the pool at a rented villa in the south of France. Inside was a ruby necklace, matching earrings and bracelet.
"She was so, so happy that she jumped into the pool wearing all this jewelry and started doing laps," said Kadakia, adding that the pieces will be sold separately.
The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, Kadakia said its size and clarity - "as white as they can be and potentially flawless" makes it a perfect gem. Burton purchased it in 1968 at a New York auction for $305,000. At the December sale, it's expected to fetch $2.5 million to $3.5 million.
"Elizabeth Taylor used to refer to it as her baby and wore it as much and as often as she could," said Kadakia, including in nearly all her subsequent films.
Among the pieces of jewelry that Taylor purchased for herself was the Duchess of Windsor diamond brooch, which she got at auction for $620,000. Kadakia said she paid a big price for it for two reasons, to remember her friend and because the proceeds were going to a cause dear to her, AIDS research. The brooch is estimated to bring $400,000 to $600,000.
Christie's also will be selling the star's 20th-century decorative arts and film memorabilia from her Bel Air home on Dec. 14-16. A portion of the proceeds from the exhibition admissions and publications related to the sales will be donated to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. Proceeds from the auctions will go to Taylor's estate.
A few quotes about Elizabeth Taylor just make you dream...
'" She looks at you with those eyes and your heart churns"
' My personal philosophy of beauty is to always believe something wonderful is about to happen"
' I can't remember a day when I wasn't famous"
" She is like an eclipse of the sun, blotting out everyone"
MGM Producer Sam Marks
' A prisoner's dream, a secretary's fantasy,unreal unattainable"
' Raptuously beautiful"
Christie's : The Crown Jewels of Hollywood- The collection of Elizabeth Taylor