While it was Kim Kardashian‘s $65,000 purchase of Elizabeth Taylor‘s jewels during the first round of auctions that made headlines, she was just one of hundreds who placed some pretty hefty bids on the late actress’ baubles, clothes and Louis Vuitton luggage.
After the three rounds of jewelry had been sold, a record had been broken for any jewelry auction landing at a grand total of $132 million.
But there were two pieces that seemed to sum up the torrid and on again, off again relationship of Taylor and Richard Burton, whom she married not once, but twice. Although Burton had lavished the actress endlessly with gifts, it was what he gave her on her 37th and 40th birthdays that stick out.
For her 37th, Burton gave her the famous La Peregrina pearl which at one time made the rounds between the hands of Spanish kings and queens, before Napoleon’s brother snatched it. It now dangles from a necklace with even more pearls, rubies and diamonds all from Cartier, and went for $11.8 million, although the estimated worth was only $3 million… yes, only.
Next, for her 40th, Taylor received the Taj Mahal diamond from Burton who supposedly joked that he “would have liked to buy the Taj Mahal for Elizabeth, but it would have cost too much to transport it.” It went for $8.8 million.
I’ve never been a fan of jewels, but I am a fan of torrid relationships. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were not just icons because of their talent and international fame, but because their love affair was epic both on and off the screen. It’s almost heartbreaking to know that now those gifts he once gave the love of his life will now be dangling from the necks of some haughty billionaires with the fortune large enough to purchase them; or even worse, they’ll be locked up in a safe somewhere unable to shine.