Best Diamonds for April Birthdays

The splendor and brilliance of the diamond has inspired us for generations; their rarity, their value and the way they delicately reflect light. Whether worn as status symbols, purchased as investments, or emblems of endless love, diamonds remain the world’s most prized stone.

The Taylor-Burton diamond story is glamorous to a fault. The story begins in 1966, when a 240-carat rough was discovered at the De Beers-owned Premier mine in South Africa, the same mine that produced the Cullinan and Golden Jubilee diamonds. It was salvaged by American jeweler Harry Winston, who decided to shape the larger half into a perfectly proportioned pear-shaped diamond. Winston sold the diamond to Harriet Annenberg Ames, sister of billionaire publisher and diplomat Walter Annenberg, who planned to wear it as a ring but felt too conspicuous wearing such a huge stone in her hometown of New York. Ames did not keep it long and put it up for auction in 1969. When Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton heard of the upcoming sale, they had to see the stone, so it was flown to Gstaad where the couple were vacationing.

Burton set his price cap at $1 million and asked his lawyers to bid by telephone from London. Despite his best efforts, the winning bid, $1,050,000, came from Robert Kenmore representing Cartier, who outbid Burton, Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis and the Sultan of Brunei. A conditional clause of the sale stipulated that the buyer of the diamond could name the diamond, so naturally the stone was baptized Diamond Cartier. It is reported that Richard Burton, livid at not having won the diamond, asked his lawyer to contact Cartier the very next day to buy the gem. Robert Kenmore has indeed agreed to sell it to Burton, for an undisclosed amount, but on condition that Cartier can display it in stores before it is given to the couple. More than 6,000 people a day flocked to the Cartier store on Fifth Avenue to see the famous stone, now of course called the Taylor-Burton diamond. Shortly after, the diamond was delivered to the couple on their yacht in Monaco, where they were anchored to attend Princess Grace’s 40th birthday. Taylor wore the legendary 69.42-carat diamond on a double-row necklace of smaller diamonds for the first time in public at Princess Grace of Monaco’s birthday party.

Sarah C. Figueiredo