Twinkling for a star... Is Elizabeth Taylor's jewellery collection set to auction?
Liz Taylor receiving a Lifetime Achievement award at the 1993 Oscars
The necklace is spectacular

Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor, who died last week at the age of 79, was one of the world's great lovers and collectors of gemstones and jewellery.

This was expressed in her desire for everything in her life to have a touch of sparkling glamour in it - if she was wearing anything a piece of jewellery would be included, and in later life even her wheelchair was required to be gold-plated and studded with gems.

But Taylor didn't simply have a magpie's eye for the gaudy, she had a knowledge of gems and judgment which impressed jewellers everywhere. Often given fine pieces by film studios, Taylor also sought out the best herself, and loved a great variety of gems including coloured jewellery, pearls and especially diamonds.

So whilst Taylor's fans are still recovering from her loss, the question inevitably arises: what is going to happen to her collection, which is believed to be worth around $150m and in a league normally exclusive to royalty (such as Wallis Simpson's).

Rumours are circulating that, firstly, Taylor's jewellery will be sold for the benefit of the AIDS charities she championed, and that secondly it will be offered through Christie's. The auctioneer has not confirmed this.

If the collection does go under the hammer, the pieces will be likely to make strong investments given Taylor's eye for quality and the wish of collectors to get close to the star.

One piece which will not be for sale is the famous Burton-Taylor diamond. That is, the diamond made famous when bought by actor Richard Burton for his wife Taylor, as this has already been sold.

The diamond was found in 1966 in the Premier Mine in South Africa and cut to a 69.42ct pear-shape by Harry Winston. Burton bought it in time for Taylor to wear at Princess Grace of Monaco's 40th birthday. It had already become the world's first million-dollar diamond at auction.

Following their divorce, Taylor auctioned the diamond in 1978 for $5m, with the proceeds funding a Botswana hospital.

We will bring you the latest on any forthcoming jewellery sale just as soon as we can.


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