Elizabeth Taylor's dazzling jewelry collection was auctioned off Tuesday night, bringing in close to $116 million--a world record for a private jewelry collection.
“It’s one of the most extraordinary auctions that Christie’s has ever had and a testament to the affection for Elizabeth Taylor worldwide,” Christie’s Americas President Marc Porter told the New York Post.
Taylor's one-of-a-kind diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls--80 pieces comprised "The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor"--sold for prices that shattered Christies' estimates. "To the best of my knowledge only two items sold within auction estimates," wrote Anthony DeMarco at Forbes. "The rest of the lots made the estimates look like afterthoughts as a jammed room full of bidders competed for items with telephone buyers from around the world."
The big winner of the night wasn't, as everyone expected, the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond (that's the 33.19-carat diamond ring Richard Burton gave her and that she wore every day)--though that fetched $8.8 million. Instead it was a pearl necklace, "La Peregrina," which fetched the most: a staggering $11.8 million (apparently applause broke out after bidding passed $10 million). Of course, the pearl is a famous 16th century pearl, depicted in artwork "for centuries," according to the BBC, including in paintings by Velazquez. The necklace was designed by Cartier for Taylor and set with rubies and diamonds.
- The Taj Mahal diamond, also a gift from Burton for Taylor's 40th birthday, sold for $8.8 million
- The Mike Todd Diamond Tiara sold for $4.2 million (it was estimated to go for $60,000 to $80,000)
- A ruby and diamond ring that Burton gave to Taylor for Christmas in 1968 went for $4.2 million (and set a record for ruby per carat price)
Click through and drool... All photo: Getty