Liz Taylor wearing a Sèvres Diamond and Yellow Gold Pendant and Sautoir
To coincide with the sale of Elizabeth Taylor’s estate at Christie’s, Van Cleef & Arpels offers a fond retrospective of the late legendary star’s extravagant collection of its finest jewelry. The violet-eyed screen siren, after all, possesed the greatest collection of haute joaillerie ever assembled by a Hollywood movie star. Of these, over forty Van Cleef & Arpels designs in Ms. Taylor’s trove will be sold at Christie’s in New York from December 13 to 16 this year.
Van Cleef & Arpels' creations played a most pivotal, poignant role in Ms. Taylor’s personal milestones. For instance, during the course of their epic romance, the dashing Richard Burton wooed Ms Taylor with piece after piece of exquisite Van Cleef & Arpels.
Ruby, Diamond and Yellow Gold Ring
“One day I’m going to find you the most perfect ruby in the world,” was the touchingly chivalrous declaration Richard Burton once made to his lady - and he made good on that promise with the Puerta Ruby, a gem with a royal provenance. During the acquisition process, Mr. Burton made clandestine correspondences with Pierre Arpels himself, from The Palace Hotel near the couple’s Chalet Ariel in Gstaad, Switzerland.
Then, finally, for Christmas in 1968, Mr. Burton gave Ms. Taylor the 8.25-carat Puertas ruby, diamond and yellow gold ring. In her memoirs, the actress recalled the moment she opened the ring box. “I screamed, which probably echoed over the mountains, and I couldn’t stop screaming,” she wrote. “I knew I was staring at the most exquisite ruby anyone had ever seen.”
Cognac and White Diamond, Platinum and Gold Ear Pendants
For their tenth wedding anniversary on March 15, 1974, Richard Burton renewed their vows with a breathtaking suite of 33.81-carat pear-shape cognac and white diamond ring and ear pendants, featuring two pear-shaped cognac diamond drops weighing 7.87-carats and 6.83-carats.
Ms. Taylor debuted the jewels at the Oscars, where she stole the show as presenter of the Best Picture Award. This particular set of jewelry appeared to be a favourite of Taylor's. On other occasions, she removed the cognac diamonds from the ear pendants and wore the round and baguette-cut white diamond frames, as she did in 1993 when the American Film Institute bestowed her with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Finally, Liz Taylor's mezmerizing violet-hued eyes were also, of course, the stuff of legend. Ms. Taylor’s celebrated peepers inspired Mr. Burton to purchase the Van Cleef & Arpels Triphanes purple necklace and ear pendants, wrought from the finest of amethyst beads, an oval-shapes Kunzite, diamonds and yellow gold in 1973. A romantic arc that can be traced by the jewelry she was bestowed - such was the legacy and life of Elizabeth Taylor.
Triphanes Amethyst, Kunzite, Diamond and Yellow Gold Set