Last night at Christie’s it didn’t take long for the sale of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry to blast through its $30m estimate. An immense, 50.6ct dog-chewed pearl known as “La Peregrina” that Taylor’s fifth (and sixth) husband Richard Burton gave her fetched $11.8m alone, which was almost four times its high estimate. That formed the pattern for the evening, which brought in a total of $115.9m, the highest total ever for a private jewelry auction.
The estimates had been set, said Christie’s Francois Curiel, without consideration for Taylor’s name. Bidders had a different sense of value, and spent accordingly. “No one has seen anything like this,” commented Ward Landrigan, head of New York-based jeweler Verdura. “It’s like money means nothing.” The 33.19-carat “Elizabeth Taylor Diamond” realized $8.8m, more than double its high estimate of $3.5m. And a Bulgari emerald and diamond necklace that Burton gave Taylor for their first marriage pulled in $6.1m, or four times its high estimate.
Read more at Bloomberg Businessweek.