Crown Jewels

Elizabeth Taylor Jewelry Auction Dec. 13 at Christie’s (Photos)

Some of the Oscar winner’s most iconic jewels go up for auction at Christie’s this week. See photos.

Terry O'Neill / Getty Images

Terry O'Neill / Getty Images

The great jewelry collections of the world might belong to maharajas or heads of state—but Elizabeth Taylor gave them a run for their money. Some of Taylor’s most iconic pieces will hit the block this week at a four-day sale at Christie’s in New York between Dec. 13 and Dec. 16. The auction will feature 269 pieces of jewels estimated in excess of $30 million, in addition to items from her closet, such as a glittering Versace jacket adorned with the face of Queen Elizabeth I, and copious amounts of her memorabilia, including a dog-eared copy of National Velvet. But it is the jewelry collection that reads like a narrative of her life—and her greatest love affairs. Several pieces, such as a circular-cut diamond ribbon bow valued between $5,000 and $7,000, are gifts from Taylor’s close friend Michael Jackson. Also featured are the diamond and cultured pearl earrings Taylor wore to the Academy Awards in 1960, when she won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in Butterfield 8, and two diamond-encrusted wedding bands given to Taylor by Richard Burton upon their two marriages in 1964 and 1975, valued between $6,000 and $8,000. “This is without a doubt the greatest private collection of jewelry ever assembled in one place,” said Marc Porter, chairman and president of Christie’s Americas. In keeping with Taylor’s life of humanitarianism, a portion of the profits from the sale will go to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

From left: Terry O'Neill / Getty Images; Christie's Images Ltd. 2011

Sapphire and diamond sautoir by Bulgari, 1969

Gift from Richard Burton, for Taylor’s 40th birthday, 1972

Estimate: $600,000–$800,000

From left: AP Photo; Christie's Images Ltd. 2011

Suite of emerald and diamond jewelry by Bulgari, 1958-63;

Gift from Richard Burton to Taylor

Necklace estimate: $1 million–$1.5 million

Bracelet estimate: $300,000–$500,000

From left: Bettmann / Corbis; Christie's Images Ltd. 2011

Emerald and diamond flower brooch, by Bulgari, 1960

Estimate: $200,000-$300,000

From left: Bob Haswell, Express / Getty Images; Christie's Images Ltd. 2011

Suite of ruby and diamond jewels by Cartier

Gift from Mike Todd to Taylor in August 1957 

Necklace estimate: $200,000–$300,000

Bracelet estimate: $150,000–$200,000

Earrings estimate: $80,000–$120,000

From left: Bettmann / Corbis; Christie's Images Ltd. 2011

Pair of tear-drop emerald and diamond earrings weighing 9.50 and 8.44 cts, by Bulgari


Estimate: $150,000-$200,000

From left: AP Photo; Christie's Images Ltd. 2011

“The Mike Todd Diamond Necklace," a Belle Epoque diamond necklace, circa 1900

Gift from Mike Todd to Taylor in 1957

Estimate: $25,000-$35,000