A look back at decades of Elizabeth Taylor and her natural diamonds

Elizabeth Taylor was a multitasker (actress-humanitarian-entrepreneur) long before major multitasking was all the rage. She racked up Oscars, raised millions as a philanthropist, and more than a decade after her death, its perfumes still sprayed on wrists around the world. Cinema campaigns featuring her fragrances, in particular the iconic White Diamonds, which featured images of the violet-eyed star dressed in dazzling treasures. In one unforgettable scene, she throws a high-carat earring into the chat room of a poker game to bankroll a handsome young player with the comment, “These have always brought me luck.” The ultimate high-speed movement. She exuded authentic Hollywood glamour, and no one doubted for a moment that she or her jewelry was the real thing. And since Elizabeth Taylor’s diamonds were one of the greatest jewelry treasures in modern history, many of the pieces of jewelry she wore were her own, along with a few guest stars for good measure.

This trailer of some of Taylor’s fragrance campaign appearances, whether vintage photos or stills from her leading lady years, proves the superstar and her stunning natural diamonds were made to be. under the projectors.

one and done

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There’s a lot to be said for simplicity. Who needs more when you have a 33.19 carat Asscher cut diamond ring at your disposal? Richard Burton’s gift (given in 1968 during the first of their two marriages) might be one of the most famous diamonds associated with Elizabeth Taylor. She wore it regularly, including in films (the ring appeared in the film Boom and—in animated form—on The simpsons). Additionally, theatrical minds had an affinity for the ring. Taylor was the second famous actress to own it, after German performer Vera Krupp who once gave her name to the diamond. Renamed the diamond Elizabeth Taylor after her death, when she owned the ring, Taylor called it “my baby”. It sold at Christie’s in 2011 for over $8,800,000.

More than perfect

While the diamonds owned by Elizabeth Taylor came mainly from successful houses – Bulgari, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels – she also had a soft spot for vintage pieces, especially when they came from one of the men she considered as one of his true loves, cinema. producer (and husband number three) Mike Todd. Elizabeth Taylor’s diamond necklace in this famous image of Taylor is a Belle Epoque piece of jewelry that dates back to approximately 1900 and features old-mine diamonds set in platinum. She paired it with a pair of Georgian treasure-style girandole drop earrings. While the original version Todd bought was set with paste stones, he later replicated the diamond earrings, proving that there is no substitute for natural diamonds.

coronation of glory

Tiaras are overdue for a revival, at least beyond royal circles. When Taylor received this circa 1880 scroll design set with old mine diamonds in platinum and gold, they weren’t necessarily at their peak. However, the young English Queen Elizabeth II helped change that somewhat. Fortunately, Elizabeth Taylor has never been one to let convention stand between her and the opportunity to wear extravagant diamonds. It debuted as Mike Todd’s Oscar gift in 1957. At Christie’s auction of Taylor’s treasures in 2011, it was one of the most prized lots, fetching more than $4,200,000.

mad harry

And when the jewelry wasn’t from her personal collection, diamonds on loan from a superstar jeweler made quite a few guest appearances. In a 1987 image taken by Norman Parkinson for Taylor’s first fragrance, Passion, Taylor was adorned in a fine jewelry diamond bib necklace and dangling earrings by Harry Winston that filled the image with reflections of light . She had a long experience of working in the American high jewelry house. The huge 69.42-carat flawless pear-shaped diamond that Taylor received from Richard Burton in 1969 was cut by Harry Winston from a 241-carat piece of rough a few years earlier. After Burton lost in a bidding war for the diamond at auction, he bought it from the winning party (Cartier, no less) the next day. Now known as the Taylor-Burton Diamond, Taylor later auctioned off the gem to help fund the construction of a hospital in Botswana. To part with one of his precious natural diamond jewels required a very good reason.

Sarah C. Figueiredo