The auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewels AT Christies has New York in a tizzy.
by Sara Evans
New York City is lit up for the holidays. And nowhere is it more glittering than in Rockefeller Center, where the Christmas tree is arguably the most beautiful ever—and a stone’s throw away, Elizabeth Taylor’s astonishing collection of jewels, art and couture are on view at Christie’s auction house.
Taylor knew exactly what she was doing when she chose Christies. The house has truly done her proud. The collection of drop-dead jewels, artwork and clothing has circled the globe at Taylor’s request. Ever-generous, she wanted people around the world to have the opportunity to view the collection, and it has been wowing crowds from across Europe, the mid-east and Asia, including London, Paris, Dubai, Moscow to Hong Kong, where there was a near-riot when the viewing closed, before arriving in Manhattan. Now, viewers who have forked out $30 a pop online are lining up around the block to view Taylor’s amazing trove of glitz and glitter, on view at Christie’s from December 3-12.
According to a spokesman at the auction house, Taylor’s is the single most important collection of jewelry ever to be auctioned. Ever. Anywhere. There are the historic pieces, the glowing pearl known as La Peregrina, a natural, pear-shaped beauty dating from the late 16th century that belonged to eight generations of Spanish royalty, various French royals and a British duke and duchess. The Spanish royal family tried to buy it back—but Richard Burton beat them to it. It’s on the block for $2-3 million. Another major historical piece is the huge, engraved heart-shaped diamond, mounted with pigeon-blood rubies, which once belonged to the father of Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal. But that’s just the beginning. There’s Taylor’s 33-carat diamond engagement ring from Burton, her ruby and diamond necklace and diamond tiara from Mike Todd. There are gifts galore to this legendary beauty, from husbands, admirers and her bff, Michael Jackson. There are separate cases filled with emeralds, sapphires, rubies and pearls, and infinity of diamonds, of corals and aquamarines and mixed stones and charm bracelets. Me? I’d settle for a perfect, pale blue Faberge egg, hanging from a simple, long gold chain.
Upstairs, there are oodles of Taylor’s clothes, a lifetime of caftans and tunics, purses and scarves, gowns, suits and costumes. The jewelry alone is estimated to go for between $30-40 million. That’s probably lowball.
Stay tuned. Art of the Times will track the auctions, which start the evening of December 13th. We’ll definitely keep you posted.