Elizabeth Taylor’s Bulgari brooch is for sale
It’s no secret that Elizabeth Taylor had a voracious appetite for fine jewelry. The coins she amassed throughout her life – and through her eight husbands – were so large that they were known as the crown jewels of Hollywood and broke records when they were auctioned at Christie’s in 2011, fetching more than $137 million. Yet to date, it is the most successful sole proprietor jewelry auction in history. (You may have heard of La Peregrina?)
And while the legendary screen star didn’t discriminate when it came to the heritage houses she frequented, she had a particularly special relationship with Bulgari. “The only word she knows in Italian is Bulgari,” Richard Burton once said. “I introduced Liz to beer and she introduced me to Bulgari.”
Their accord was as iconic as caviar and champagne, amethyst and turquoise. And one that would materialize treasures such as the 18-carat Colombian emerald pendant brooch, her first Bulgari acquisition, which she received as an engagement piece of jewelry from Burton – it was surrounded by 12 pear-shaped diamonds and could be attached to an emerald matching dress and a diamond necklace he bought her two years later. Both were sold at this Christie’s auction for over $6 million each. There was also a diamond and sapphire long necklace anchored by a 52.72-carat sugar loaf cabochon sapphire, a 40th anniversary gift from Burton, as well as coin and serpentis necklaces.
Now another Bulgari gem from that historic auction has resurfaced and this one is up for sale. The multicolored platinum and gold brooch (above), set with diamonds and 17.5 carats of blue and pink sapphires, fetched more than $68,500 in 2011 from a low estimate of $8,000. The heirloom is currently offered by MS Rau, the 110-year-old New Orleans-based purveyor of art, antiques and jewelry. Take it from Taylor herself: “I never thought of my jewelry as trophies,” she joked. “I am here to care for it and love it, because we are only temporary guardians of beauty.”