Almost nine months after the passing of Elizabeth Taylor, her jewelry was recently auctioned by Christie’s New York. Given the results of the auction, it seems that even after their gone, one’s heritage really can potentially live on.
The jewelry component of the auction was anticipated to bring proceeds of USD 30 million. Instead, the princely sum of USD 116 million was raised – a new world record for one night of auction receipts. Given that most pieces exceeded their median estimate by double digit multiples, this was hardly surprising.
Taylor’s love for jewelry, and diamonds in particular, was well documented. And given the auction result, it seems as though owning a piece of history with impeccable provenance is high on the list of a number individuals with the means to fulfill their dreams.
Fancy color diamonds featured prominently in Taylor’s collection. A Van Cleef & Arpels ring with a 32.14 carat modified pear-shaped, fancy deep brownish-orangey-yellow diamond ring, was sold for USD 2.33 million against a median estimate of USD 200,000. A colored diamond pendant necklace, featuring a suspended and detachable pear-shaped fancy yellow diamond and weighing approximately 9.66 carats, realized USD 482,500, twelve times its median estimate.
A pair of colored diamond and diamond ear pendants by BVLGARI, each with a detachable modified pear-shaped fancy yellow diamond, weighing approximately 15.60 and 15.38 carats and mounted in platinum, were sold for USD 1.65 million - over three times of its median estimate. Similarly, a colored diamond ring by Lorraine Schwartz set with a fancy intense yellow diamond, weighing approximately 27.42 carats, flanked on either side by a triangular-cut diamond and mounted in 18k gold and platinum, exceeded its median estimate by 300%, selling for almost USD 2.1 million.
A platinum-mounted, colored diamond and diamond flower brooch by BVLGARI, realized USD 1.14 million against a USD 400,000 median estimate. The brooch was set with a circular-cut fancy vivid yellow diamond pistil, weighing approximately 3.38 carats, and two smaller circular-cut yellow and brown diamond pistils, enhanced by numerous circular-cut brown diamonds, with circular and baguette-cut diamond leaves and stems.
A colored diamond and diamond ring by BVLGARI fetched USD 962,500. The median estimate was USD 150,000. The ring is set with a marquise-cut fancy vivid yellow diamond, weighing approximately 2.62 carats, mounted in platinum. Achieving a similar result but against a USD 125,000 estimate were a pair of colored diamond and diamond ear pendants by Van Cleef & Arpels. Each pendant suspended a detachable modified, pear-shaped fancy deep brown-yellow diamond, weighing approximately 7.87 and 6.83 carats, within a circular and baguette-cut diamond frame.
Although we are still only in 2011, this auction can already be called, “The Auction of the Century.” It is doubtful that the quality of the pieces, breadth of the collection, and stardust associated with the Elizabeth Taylor Collection, will ever be replicated.