Elizabeth Taylor's Most Memorable Jewelry
Elizabeth Taylor's Most Memorable Jewelry
Diamond Tiara, 1957
"When [third husband Mike Todd] gave me this tiara, he said, 'You're my queen, and I think you should have a tiara,'" Taylor wrote in A Life in Jewelry. "I wore it for the first time when we went to the Academy Awards. It was the most perfect night, because Mike's film Around the World in 80 Days won for Best Picture. It wasn't fashionable to wear tiaras then, but I wore it anyway, because he was my king."
Taylor in the tiara at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival.
Cartier Ruby Suite, 1957
Todd presented her with a Cartier diamond-and-ruby set while she was taking a swim. She wrote: "I got out and put my arms around him, and he said, 'Wait a minute, don't joggle your tiara.' Because I was wearing the tiara he had bought for me in the pool! He was holding a red leather box, and inside was a ruby-and-diamond bib necklace, which glittered in the warm light. It was like the sun, lit up and made of red fire. First Mike put it around my neck and smiled. Then he bent down and put matching earrings on me. Next came the bracelet. Since there was no mirror around, I had to look into the water. The jewelry was glorious, rippling red on blue like a painting. I shrieked with joy, put my arms around Mike's neck, and pulled him into the pool after me. It was a perfect summer day and a day of perfect love."
Top, wearing the piece in 2001 at an N.Y.C. event with Michael Jackson. Inset, home-video footage of Taylor receiving the jewelry, 1957.
Diamond Chandelier Earrings, 1957
These shoulder-dusting antique chandeliers were favorites of Taylor's, wearing them first in 1959 and 4 decades later in 1992 at the Academy Awards. When she discovered them in a Paris boutique, they sparkled with paste (glass) gems. She wrote, "A few months later, back in New York, I was getting ready for a party and went to put them on. I opened the box, and the earrings looked all polished up. I put them on. There was something different about how they fit. I said, 'Mike, there's something wrong with my earrings.' He chuckled and said he'd had them made up with real diamonds!"
Bulgari Emerald Brooch, 1960
Taylor wore her floral diamond-and-emerald pin as a hair accessory in 1963's The V.I.P.S. She often selected pieces from her own collection to augment her onscreen wardrobe.
At an awards show in 1960.
Bulgari Necklace, 1962
On a break from shooting Cleopatra, Taylor took a stroll to Bulgari with Richard Burton. "Richard was so romantic that he'd use any excuse to give me a piece of jewelry," Taylor wrote. "He'd give me 'It's a beautiful day' presents or 'Let's go for a walk' presents. Over the years I've come to think of these as my 'It's Tuesday, I love you' jewelry." Taylor was given a choice between two spectacular emerald necklaces. "I tried on the huge one, then the smaller one, the huge one, then the smaller one. By this time we had been joined by Bob, a dear friend and Richard's dresser for years. Richard asked him which he preferred. Bob couldn't decide either. I tried them on one more time and said, 'Richard, I think I like the smaller one.' Bob said, 'Mr. B., you can't hardly get girls like that no more!'"
At a Paris premiere in 1968.
The Krupp Diamond, 1968
Burton paid $305,000 for the 33.19-carat Harry Winston ring in 1968. "This remarkable stone is called the Krupp diamond because it had been owned by Vera Krupp, of the famous munitions family that helped knock off millions of Jews," wrote Taylor. "When it came up for auction in the late 1960s, I thought how perfect it would be if a nice Jewish girl like me were to own it. In truth, though, there's nothing funny about the Krupp. When I look into it, the deep Asscher cuts-which are so complete and ravishing-are like steps that lead into eternity and beyond. With its sparks of red and white and blue and purple, and on and on, really, it sort of hums with its own beatific life. To me, the Krupp says, 'I want to share my chemistry-my magic-with you.'"
The couple in Budapest for Taylor's 40th birthday in 1972.
The Taylor-Burton Diamond, 1969
Her most famous gem was a 69.42-carat pear-shaped diamond that Burton purchased at auction for over $1 million. It was originally set in a ring. "But even for me it was too big," Taylor said. "So we had Cartier design a necklace." She wore the new design to the Academy Awards in 1970.
Bulgari Sapphire Necklace, 1969
Burton once said, "The only word Elizabeth knows in Italian is Bulgari." Certainly, she happily accepted his gift of a diamond-and-sapphire sautoir necklace featuring a 321-carat Burmese sapphire pendant.
Wearing the piece in 1988.
Van Cleef & Arpels Necklace, 1993
When Taylor received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Academy Award for her anti-AIDS activism, she borrowed a white-and-yellow-diamond daisy necklace with chrysoprase leaves by Van Cleef & Arpels to go with her yellow Valentino dress. After the evening, "Elizabeth Taylor decided it was her good-luck necklace and bought it," the brand's Muffie Potter told InStyle.