As famous in death as in life, Christie’s in New York City was packed to the gill last week, as all attendees watched history in the making.
Its no wonder that this auction would be so successful; Elizabeth Taylor and her jewelry were inextricably linked. Her jewelry became her. And the images of her wearing those magnificent pieces are imprinted in our collective unconscious, along with the wonderful stories behind them. To have the opportunity to own that kind of history was bound to break a record or two!
Like disciples gathering at the altar of their high priestess, the jewelry faithful packed the showroom at Christie’s New York Dec. 13 for an evening sale of Elizabeth Taylor’s “Legendary Jewels,” an epic assortment of 80 lots that earned $115,932,000, setting a world record for the most valuable private collection of jewels sold at auction.
“We knew it would do well, but no one dared dream of $115 million,” said François Curiel, Christie’s international head of jewels. “Probably we will not see another sale like this for many years.”
Nearly every lot sold well above its high estimate, “a testament to the affection for Elizabeth Taylor worldwide as well as to her collecting ability,” said Marc Porter, chairman and president of Christie’s Americas.
La Peregrina on diamond, ruby, and cultured pearl necklace by Cartier
The 33.19 ct. Elizabeth Taylor Diamond
Gold and multigem charm bracelet
The Taj Mahal diamond, on a gold and ruby chain by Cartier, fetched $8.8 million—a world auction record for an Indian jewel.