Elizabeth Taylor's wedding rings for her marriages to Richard Burton bring $1m

Following on from the previous night's sale of Elizabeth Taylor's extraordinary jewellery collection, Christie's has sold her last jewel - and every last one of them did sell - to bring a resounding total of $137,235,675 overall.

That makes it the most valuable private collection of jewelry ever offered at auction, ahead of the likes of Wallis Simpson and indeed the most valuable sale of jewellery in auction history.

 "The spectacular results of the Evening Sale of Elizabeth Taylor's iconic jewels sparked a surge of interest from collectors around the world. It took eight hours and three auctioneers to sell 189 more jewels from Elizabeth Taylor's storied collection," noted François Curiel, International Director of Jewelry at Christie's.

"The atmosphere was electric from the very first to the last lot, with collectors from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America chasing each individual jewel with a tenacity never seen before. All the jewels offered greatly exceeded their estimates, sometimes by much as a hundred times.

"This brings the total value of Miss Taylor's jewelry collection to $137.2m and sets a new record for the largest jewelry sale ever presented at auction."

Elizabeth Taylor pearl necklace
The pearl and diamond necklace, given to Elizabeth Taylor in 1968

Following on from the previous sale of the La Peregrina pearl necklace and the Elizabeth Taylor diamond, the highest lot was another exquisite antique natural pearl (and diamond) necklace dated circa 1860 that Richard Burton gave to Elizabeth Taylor in 1968.

The pear-shaped pearl drop is reminiscent of her historic La Peregrina, and brought an impressive $1.48m.

The most anticipated lot of the day was the set of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's wedding bands, which had been given the ludicrous estimate of $6,000-8,000. These were the gold and diamond rings given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton upon their marriages in 1964 and 1975.

Some furious bidding followed with the final sale price being $1,022,500, illustrating the memorabilia aspect of the sale for items not quite at peak by intrinsic value. Collectors eager to own a piece of Elizabeth Taylor's memorabilia but unable to spend six or seven figure sums will be glad to know that some of Taylor's hair is available at a tiny fraction of these prices from our stock.

Elizabeth Taylor Richard Burton wedding rings
The wedding rings of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton


This was such an extraordinary sale that the $1m wedding bands were nowhere near being included in the top 10 priciest lots of the auction which had already seen four major individual world auction records set, these being:

The record price for a pearl jewel (for La Peregrina at $11.8m), the record for a colourless diamond per carat (for the Elizabeth Taylor diamond at $265,697 per carat), the record for an Indian jewel (for the 'Taj Mahal' diamond at $8.8m) and the record price for a ruby per carat ($512,925 per carat for a Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby And Diamond Ring which Richard Burton gave Taylor as a 1968 Christmas present).

"We are humbled and gratified by these results which are a testament to the public's overwhelming affection for Elizabeth Taylor and her incredible legacy, said Marc Porter, Chairman of Christie's Americas.

"The sale of Miss Taylor and Richard Burton's wedding bands for over $1 million after an epic 15-minute bidding war was a fitting grand finale to the live auction portion of this amazing jewelry collection. We look forward to more great results this week, as the auctions continue with sales of Elizabeth Taylor's fashion, accessories, decorative arts and memorabilia collections."

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