Elizabeth Taylor's storied jewelry up for auction

Wed Sep 7, 2011 2:03pm EDT
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Actress Elizabeth Taylor's world-renowned collection of jewelry will be auctioned off in December at a two-day sale that is expected to realize more than $30 million, Christie's said Wednesday.

The December 13-14 sale will follow a global three-month tour that will also include Taylor's couture, fine art and memorabilia, and will be the first of a series of auctions from the estate of the legendary film star who died in March.

Some 269 diamonds, pearls, rubies, rings, necklaces and even a tiara will be sold, with several of the most valuable, and storied pieces tied to Taylor's lengthy and complicated relationship with Richard Burton, whom she married twice and divorced twice.

"This is without a doubt the greatest private collection of jewelry ever assembled in one place," said Christie's Americas chairman and president Marc Porter.

The collection includes everything "from her most jaw-dropping diamonds, gems and one-of-a-kind historic jewels to ... never-before-seen keepsakes," he said.

Leading the December 13 gala evening sale of 89 top lots is Taylor's iconic, 33.19-carat white diamond ring, a 1968 gift from Burton who purchased it at auction for $300,000.

The trustees of Taylor's estate have renamed it The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, and it is estimated to fetch $2.5 million to $3.5 million.

But prices for items from the collections of other famous people ranging from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Marilyn Monroe to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor have soared to many times their pre-sale estimates.   Continued...

<p>Elizabeth Taylor arrives for a play in Los Angeles in this December 1, 2007 file photo. Taylor has been admitted to a Los Angeles hospital to treat symptoms from congestive heart failure, her spokeswoman said February 11, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files</p>