May 29, 2022
4 min read

Elizabeth Taylor’s emerald suite

Elizabeth Taylor’s emerald suite

Hollywood’s brightest star – Elizabeth Taylor – became a legend. Her jewelry collection still  infatuates collectors and jewelry lovers, and stirs their hearts. 

The story behind the Emerald suite

Elizabeth Taylor’s Bulgari Emerald Suite has always received special attention. And no wonder! We’re willing to bet that everyone has seen at least one piece of this jewel in their life. Have you?

Elizabeth Taylor’s Bulgari Emerald Suite consists of 5 pieces: Emerald and Diamond necklace with a pendant that turns into a brooch, matching emerald earrings, a ring and a bracelet. 

The Suite was gifted to Elizabeth by her legendary husband Richard Burton. Having visited the Bulgari boutique on the Via Condotti in Rome several times, Burton chose a brooch as an engagement gift and the necklace as a wedding present. The other pieces were acquired for no special reason.

Was Elizabeth delighted? Well, of course!

There is an interesting story about how Elizabeth got the exact emerald necklace for her Suite – she was choosing between two magnificent necklaces: 

“I tried on the huge one, then the smaller one, the huge one, then the smaller one. By this time we had been joined by Bob, a dear friend and Richard’s dresser for years. Richard asked him which he preferred. Bob couldn’t decide either. I tried them one more time and said, ‘Richard, I think I like the smaller one.’ Bob said, ‘Mr. Burton, you can hardly get girls like that nowadays!'” 

This jewelry set became Elizabeth Taylor’s favorite. And it truly deserves its fame! 

The sale of the century

The sale of the century – that’s the name of the Christie’s auction dedicated to the Elizabeth Taylor’s collection.

The sale lived up to all expectations: 270 lots were sold for a total of $137,235,675, setting a new world record for a single-owner sale! 

Bulgari emerald necklace was presented too. This piece was sold for $6,130,500 – a decent price for such quality gemstone.  The pendant brooch also took part in the auction – it was purchased for $6,578,500 while the emerald bracelet was acquired for $4,002,500. 

The whole emerald set was sold for  $23 million!

Impressive, right? 

Why is this suite so special?

This emerald suite excites people’s minds for a reason: the quality of the emeralds is simply amazing. That is what Christopher P. Smith, president of the American Gemological Laboratories (AGL), said about the stones:

“The emerald and diamond necklace and bracelet from Bulgari had a collection of very fine Muzo emeralds from Colombia, as well as a number of top-quality Sandawana emeralds from Zimbabwe. In the early 1960s, Sandawana produced some very fine emeralds and these pieces clearly denote how well Sandawana emeralds hold up to the top-quality gems from Muzo,” explained Smith.

By the way, some of the emeralds from the Taylor’s set were taken from the Grand Duchess Vladimir in Russia. 

Inspired by a legend

Iconic jewels are made to inspire! 

Let’s have a closer look at those legendary jewels.

The iconic necklace – circa 1962 – is set with a series of 16 rectangular-cut and square-cut emeralds, each surrounded by diamonds of different shapes. 

The detachable 23.44 ct pendant – circa 1958 – easily turns into a brooch featuring a rectangular-cut emerald and pear-shaped diamonds. 

The bracelet – circa 1963 – looks like a smaller version of the necklace. It is set with thirteen rectangular-cut and square-cut emeralds spaced by diamonds.

The earrings – circa 1960 – include two pear-shaped emeralds surrounded by round and pear-shaped diamonds. 

Finally, the ring – circa 1962 – set with a rectangular-cut emerald in the center and surrounded by diamonds.

The combination of emeralds and diamonds in jewelry is a classic option. The beauty and purity of diamonds reveals the unique color of emeralds, highlighting it. 

Choosing emeralds, pay attention to the Colombian ones. They are considered to be excellent investment stones due to their scarcity and great quality. However, Zambian emeralds are also a stunning choice. Moreover, emeralds from the Urals, Colombia or Afghanistan are immediately considered as an investment.

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