Elizabeth Taylor $116 Million Jewelry Auction Breaks Records
Who's afraid of a little bling?
That windfall more than doubled the previous record held by a single jewelry collection (set in 1987 by the Duchess of Windsor's royal gems), and greatly exceeded the $20 million the auction house had expected to draw.
A 203-grain pear-shaped pearl, once owned by Mary Tudor of England and Queens Isabel and Margarita before being purchased by Richard Burton for $37,000 at a 1969 auction, was sold for $11,842,500, the largest price commanded by a pearl at an auction.
Known as the La Pérégrina (top left), the pearl, which Taylor had mounted as a custom Cartier ruby and diamond necklace, was expected to bring in just $2 to $3 million.
The famous 33.19-carat "Elizabeth Taylor Diamond," another gift from Burton, was also a top seller and broke the per-carat record for a colorless diamond. South Korean conglomerate Eland World paid $8,818,500 for the piece, which it plans to exhibit.
Of the 80 items on offer, the Taj Mahal diamond (a gift for Taylor's 40th birthday) also fetched $8,818,500, the most for an Indian jewel.
A tiara from former husband Mike Todd drew a record-breaking $4.2 million (six times its estimate), while a Van Cleef & Arpels ruby and diamond ring purchased by Burton set a new per-carat ruby record.
"This truly is one of the greatest jewelry collections in the world," Christie's head of jewelry Rahul Kadakia told Reuters.
"But in my wildest dreams, I did not think we would outsell the estimate by five times."
Taylor's clothing will be auctioned off on December 14. But does anybody have any money left?
Photo: Getty Images
Chaos at Christie's where employees spoke on the phone with bidders, all vying for the iconic jewelry pieces.