Recession? What recession? A collection of jewels owned by the late Dame Elizabeth Taylor has fetched a record-breaking $116 million dollars at a Christie's New York auction, more than double what was predicted. The lot was estimated to bring in about $20 mill but instead broke the record for a single collection.
The highest bid was for the 16th century pearl which sold for $11.8 million. The pearl, known as La Peregrina, has been seen in artwork for centuries and was even painted by 17th century Spanish artist Velazquez. The pearl was once owned by Mary Tudor and later by Spanish queens Margarita and Isabel.
Taylor's two-time husband Richard Burton bought the pearl in 1969 at auction for $37,000. Taylor commissioned Cartier to design a ruby-and-diamond necklace mount for the piece. Another Burton gift, a 33.19 carat diamond ring, fetched $8.8 million.
A gold and gem bracelet valued at up to $35,000 sold for $270,000 and an ivory and gold necklace fetched more than 100 times its estimate of selling for $314,500. Another buyer paid $600,000 for a diamond and sapphire ring given to Taylor by Michael Jackson. Marc Porter of Christie's calls the high bids "a testament to the love of Elizabeth Taylor."
Another highlight was the Taj Mahal diamond, a 40th birthday present from Burton, which sold for $8.8 mill, a record for an Indian jewel. Did Burton know how to gift or what? No Zale's for this dude.
The auction of her haute couture, including the dresses from her two weddings to Burton, will be sold. today. Part of the proceeds will go to The Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation, her life passion since 1991.