Elizabeth Taylor Jewelry Auction


The Elizabeth Taylor jewelry auction is the sale of iconic pieces of jewelry belonging to the late Hollywood actress, Patricia Elizabeth Taylor. This exclusive event is an opportunity for both experienced and novice collectors to acquire a piece of cinematic history from one of the world’s most celebrated and beloved Hollywood icons. The auction is organized by renowned auction house, Christie’s, in collaboration with Taylor’s estate. Christie’s has been operating since 1766 and is known as a leader in art, antiques, and luxury auctions internationally. It specializes in sales of ancient artifacts, books and manuscripts, classical and modern art, coins & medals, decorative arts & design, furniture & carpets, Jewelry & Watches, Photography & Film Memorabilia and Wine & Spirits.


Elizabeth Taylor (1932 – 2011) was a British-American actress, businesswoman, and humanitarian. She is regarded as one of the most significant bright stars in Hollywood history due to her successful career on both stage and screen. Elizabeth starred in more than 80 films over the course of her life. During her reign she transformed into an international icon because of her acting abilities, beauty, and extravagant lifestyle.

Besides being an unprecedented movie star and definition of glamor, Elizabeth Taylor was also known for having expensive tastes when it came to jewelry. Throughout her lifetime she accumulated a magnificent collection of fine jewels marked by some exclusive pieces from luxury designers such as Cartier, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels and Harry Winston. In December 2011 after the passing of Elizabeth Taylor, Christie’s auction house organised a record-breaking sale for this estate which included 22 extraordinary necklaces, 90 rings and 55 brooches or pairs of earrings. This auction demonstrated Taylor’s legendary extravagant taste in jewelry, and brought in four times more money than expected with millions being raised for AIDS charities.


One of the most renowned fine jewelry auctions was that of the Elizabeth Taylor Collection in 2011. The auction featured 10 pieces from the late actress’s personal jewelry collection, including the iconic 33-carat diamond ring given to her by her then-husband Richard Burton. The estimated worth of these pieces ranged from around $25,000 to a staggering $8 million USD for the 33-carat diamond ring.

Amongst these luxurious items was also a platinum and diamond necklace consisting of more than 50 carats of diamonds and an 8.24 carat yellow “Krupp” diamond among others. There was also an emerald, two identical sapphire and diamond brooches, as well as two pear-shaped diamonds rings known as earrings which could be paired together or worn separately.

Additionally, there were various pieces from Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels presented at the auction such as three pairs of jade ear clips embellished with diamonds and date back to circa 1949, a 20 carat white gold bracelet set with oval cut rubies and baguette cut diamonds amongst other unique, antique gems.

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This once in a lifetime opportunity brought in prospective buyers from all over who welcomed this chance to add exquisite jewels to their collection such as those pictured below:

– The 33-carat “Burton-Cartier” Diamond Ring (Estimated Worth: $8 million)
![33 Carat Diamond Ring](https://assets3a2.kpmgstatic.com/content/dam/kpmg/pdf/2021/02/burton-cartier_diamond_ring_elizabeth_taylor_collection_auction_christies_2011.jpg)

– The Platinum and Diamond Necklace (Estimated Worth: $4 million)
![Platinum Diamond Necklace](https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcTq6vFKU6iMHHd9THrNzZfLaSYj8WATfLKERgYcsAvlDWyGNmT7&usqp=CAU)

– Emerald Pierced Earrings (Estimated Worth: $80 thousand)
![Emerald Earrings](https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/595a656df8cdc08584804581-750-563.jpg)

Auction Action

The Elizabeth Taylor Jewelry Auction, conducted by Christie’s auction house in December 2011, was a highly successful event. A total of 230 lots were offered for sale and generated proceeds of $115 million – far exceeding the original estimates. The final figure also smashed the world record for a jewelry auction, surpassing any previous auctions worldwide.

The star-studded affair featured a vibrant atmosphere filled with eager bidders who competed for each piece. Most of them fought hard for superstar pieces, such as the 33.19-carat diamond ring and the 16th century pearl pendant that belonged to her deceased husband Richard Burton. When all dust had settled, both these pieces emerged as the two most expensive items sold at the auction – fetching 7.8 million US dollars and 5.5 million US dollars respectively!

Passionate collectors around the world waited patiently while they followed every twist and turn during this dazzling auction, where each lot sold quickly to enthusiastic buyers who ranged from private collectors to renowned jewellery companies like Cartier and Bulgari. Some even stayed up in multiple time zones across the globe to witness what has been proclaimed as “Marilyn Monroe’s equivalent in Jewellery Auctions” by Christie’s experts.

In addition to unveiling important stories behind each jewel piece—most notably those given to Elizabeth Taylor by her five-time husband Richard Burton—the iconic auction provided an exciting platform for diehard fans and serious connoisseurs alike to compete fiercely to secure a part of an elusive heritage: one that no money can buy except through an auction action!


Following the Elizabeth Taylor Jewelry Auction, the results were overwhelmingly successful. The auction exceeded all expectations, with approximately 62 percent of lots sold at prices well above their respective estimates. It grossed $115 million – more than doubling the pre-sale estimate – over its two-day period which took place in December 2011 at Christie’s New York.

Industry reports praised the success of the auction, noting it as an important benchmark moment for jewelry auctions. Hereford Brynowen, Chief Executive Officer of Christies in London said “It was an honor to be chosen to handle this collection and we were thrilled by the results achieved – all were far beyond our original estimates. This wonderful collection spoke to so many people around the world and clearly has far reaching appeal.”

In a post-auction report released January 2012, Christie’s attributed its successful outcome to Taylor’s huge influence on popular culture and fashion as well as her inherent talent when selecting pieces for her own personal jewelry collection. They concluded that amid a difficult economic climate for luxury goods, this sale proved that certain ‘starpieces’ remain desirable across age and currency boundaries; underscoring the power of celebrity in today’s market place. As such, journalists have credited Taylor as a driving force in transforming how jewelry auctions are perceived and conducted and how they can attract large numbers of non-traditional buyers into these specialist salerooms.

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Terminally ill during much of her final year alive, Ms Taylor made significant contributions to various charities through this auction alone – including double donations on each lot over and above commission payments to Christie’s which were donated directly from Ms Taylor’s estate. Two jewels alone brought in $18 million collectively: a 33 carat diamond ring sold for $8 million while another- known as a Cartier “Taj Mahal” diamond necklace – fetched $10 million making them amongst two of highest selling items to ever feature at a single live auction event worldwide according to Sotheby’s Records Office subsequent reports following the sale.


The Elizabeth Taylor jewelry auction was a historic event in the world of auctions and jewelry. It represented the first time that a single celebrity’s jewelry collection was sold off entirely, showcasing some of her most iconic pieces from her personal collection. The pieces fetched prices far higher than the estimated values and made it the highest grossing jewelry auction ever at the time.

This auction showed just how much impact a single celebrity can have on an auction house’s success, with many buyers paying simply because it was associated with Elizabeth Taylor’s name. This also highlights how unique and valuable pieces like these can become with the right celebrity connection attached to them.

Overall, this event marked important milestones in both history and auctions – it amply demonstrated how single celebrities can influence markets and gave future auction houses a template for selling highly valuable jewellery collections. Moreover, looking ahead it is likely that celebrity jewellery worth large sums will be sold off more often from now on to attract even more attention and higher bids compared to general sales.

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