Roskin Gem News Report

Elizabeth Taylor’s Crown Jewels

Because of all the Coronation hoopla, the Tatler Magazine has published a nice feature story regarding Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection. Actress Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011, queen of the silver screen, would amass a collection of jewels fit for a royal.

If only she would have taken better care…

Here are just a few of these jewels to mention here:

La Peregrina
La Peregrina is the largest natural drop pearl in the world, recovered from the Americas in the 16th century, weighing over 50 carats, measuring 17.35 – 17.90 x 25.50 mm, and suspended from a Cartier ruby, natural and cultured pearl, and diamond necklace.

La Peregrina, image Christie’s

La Peregrina was a gift to Taylor from actor and husband Richard Burton.

But before “the most perfect pearl in the world” landed in Elizabeth Taylor’s famous plunging neckline, there was 400+ years of history of this 16th-century teardrop-shaped pearl. Found in the waters of the Gulf of Panama, it was delivered to the Spanish crown. Political marriages records the pearl was once owned by Mary Tudor of England, and the Bonapartes of France.

Provenance, according to Christie’s, is as follows:
Spanish Kings:
Philip II, (1582-1598 – Mary Tudor)
Philip III, (1598-1621)
Philip IV, (1621-1665)
Charles II (1665-1700)
Philip V (1700-1746)
Fernando VI (1746-1759)
Charles III (1759-1778)
Carlos IV (1778-1808)

Joseph Bonaparte, of France (1808-circa 1844)
Prince Louis Napoleon, of France (circa 1844-circa 1848)
Duke and Duchess of Abercorn (circa 1848-1914)
Elizabeth Taylor (1969-2011)

As its new owner, many would say that Elizabeth Taylor kept it royal.

Unfortunately, and quite to the contrary from Taylor’s account in her book, “Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry,” it didn’t take long for the pearl to somehow end up in her petite dog’s mouth as a chew toy. Fortunately for history’s sake, she was able to rescue the pearl. The dog’s teeth did not do irreparable harm, but the damage needed to be fixed. This was left to John Latendresse, founder of the American Pearl Company, who expertly repaired La Peregrina, reclaiming its beauty as one of the world’s finest natural drop pearls.

the Taylor Diamond, image Christie’s

Then there is the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, another gift from Richard Burton. This possible Asscher cut diamond, formerly named the Krupp Diamond, was now Taylor’s. It is a magnificent square emerald cut weighing 33.19 carats, and graded D flawless.

Well, it was flawless (or more likely internally flawless). It was later graded VS1 by the Gemological Institute of America, just prior to auction.

From Christie’s:
“Set with a cut-cornered rectangular-cut diamond, weighing approximately 33.19 carats, flanked on either side by a tapered baguette-cut diamond, mounted in platinum.
With report 1132411262 dated 9 May 2011 from the Gemological Institute of America stating that the diamond is D color, VS1 clarity; accompanied by a working diagram indicating that the clarity may be potentially internally flawless.

And this is NOT the only diamond she manhandled.

Take the Taylor Burton Diamond, a 69.42 carat, internally flawless, near colorless pear shape diamond, another gift from Richard Burton. The Taylor Burton diamond was sold at auction in the late 1970s. But before it went to auction, it had to be repolished, as it had suffered bruises from being mistreated by Taylor. The repolishing lost over a carat in order for the diamond to be graded once again as Internally Flawless, but now weighing 68.09 carats.

Taylor and Burton were married – twice.

If Taylor would have taken better care of her jewelry, the gems may not have needed repair. But then, her treatment of her jewels were a reflection of her life and personality – adding to the valued provenance.

Tap here to read the feature story in the Tatler: Elizabeth Taylor’s crown jewels: a glimpse inside her glittering personal collection

Roskin Gem News Report
Previous articleThe World Record for the Most Diamonds
Next articleThe Chatham Legacy, An American Story