Actress Elizabeth Taylor’s collection of jewels fetched a record-breaking £74.9 million at auction at Christie’s in New York on Tuesday, more than double the previous record for a single-owner jewellery collection
Actress Elizabeth Taylor’s collection of jewels fetched a record-breaking £74.9 million at auction at Christie’s in New York on Tuesday, more than double the previous record for a single-owner jewellery collection, and over five times Christie’s original estimate of £13 million.
Rahul Kadakia, head of jewellery for Christie’s America, said that while he had expected the sale to out-perform estimates due to Taylor’s silver-screen fame and equally famous love of jewellery, he was surprised by the extent of the auction’s success. He told Reuters that ‘this truly is one of the greatest jewellery collections in the world. But in my wildest dreams, I did not think we would outsell the estimate by five times.’
Among the highlights were a 16th century pear-shaped pearl, known as La Peregrina and once owned by England’s Mary Tudor and Spanish royalty, which went than £7.6 million, and the diamond ring given to the actress by Richard Burton, sold for £5.7 million. The ring, renamed the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond was bought by Daniel Pang, a South Korean businessman.
The four-hour auction also saw the sale of many other precious items and iconic pieces, beginning with a gold and gem charm bracelet estimated to sell for £22,500, which sold for £174,000. Michael Jackson fans were drawn to the diamond and sapphire ring given to Taylor by the late King of Pop, a close friend of hers, which sold for £387,000. One ivory and gold necklace was a runaway hit, fetching more than 100 times its estimate and selling for £203,000.
The monumental 10-day exhibition of Taylor’s jewellery, art and couture sold 25,000 tickets at $30 each leaving Christie’s officials thrilled with the results. The sale continues today with the auction of the Cleopatra actress’s haute couture collection.