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Stars shine in Elizabeth Taylor's collection of Bulgari jewellery

Last night, on the 9 February 2013, Bulgari's Rodeo Drive boutique in Los Angeles came alive with a stellar congregation of stars. Making the most dramatic entrance was Julianne Moore wearing Elizabeth Taylor's Bulgari emerald and diamond necklace, which the Italian jeweller acquired at auction in 2011 at Christie's sale of the actress's estate. The necklace alone sold for close to US$6 million, and the pendant itself sold as a separate lot for US$6.5 million. The sale of 80 lots, valued at US $30 million, eventually sold for over US$115 million, giving you an idea of how sought-after these jewels are.

The impressive necklace, worn by Moore with a simple loose hairstyle and a bare-shouldered dress, is one of Elizabeth Taylor's most famous jewels. A highly valuable and well-known emerald necklace with a detachable pendant, it was part of the emerald parure collected by Elizabeth Taylor over many years, gifts from her two-time husband Richard Burton, from Taylor's favourite haunt in Rome: the Bulgari boutique on via Condotti. 

On show at the Roman-themed party were all eight pieces of Bulgari's Elizabeth Taylor jewellery. This highly valuable collection includes her first piece of Bulgari jewelry, an emerald and diamond En Tremblant brooch, as well as the "Cleopatra Mirror", a gold and turquoise-encrusted mirror commissioned for Taylor and rumoured to have been a gift for her 30th birthday. Also shimmering away was the "Taylor Burton fiancée ring", a diamond brooch with a 23.44ct octagonal step-cut diamond; an emerald and diamond necklace; a platinum sautoir with diamonds and sapphires; a 'Trombino' ring that Taylor bought to complement the platinum sautoir; and lastly, one of Taylor's most frequently worn pieces: a diamond and gold sautoir set with six ancient Roman coins.

Julianne Moore wore Elizabeth Taylor's jewels with panache, though she didn't go quite as far as the late actress, who wore her jewels on the red carpet, in the swimming pool and in her films, making them even more aspirational and loaded with associations. The most intriguing of Taylor's jewels are those given to her by Richard Burton, such as the emerald necklace Moore wore, since each ring and necklace represents a chapter in their tumultuous romance. Unlike the  stars of today, who borrow diamond dazzlers for the red carpet, Elizabeth Taylor owned all her jewels, which means we are unlikely to see anything quite like this haul come out of Hollywood again. 

 

  • Elizabeth Taylor wearing Bulgari jewels: her En tremblant brooch with diamonds and emeralds and an emerald parure (a gift from Richard Burton). Image courtesy of Bulgari. Photo: Getty Images.
  • The Elizabeth Taylor Bulgari emerald suite, given to her by Richard Burton. The pendant alone achieved US$6,587,500 at the Christie's auction of Elizabeth Taylor's estate in 2011. The ring sold for approximately US$3 million, the necklace for around US$6 million and the bracelet for just over US$400,000.

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Elizabeth Taylor wearing Bulgari jewels: her En tremblant brooch with diamonds and emeralds and an emerald parure (a gift from Richard Burton). Image courtesy of Bulgari. Photo: Getty Images.

Elizabeth Taylor wearing Bulgari jewels: her En tremblant brooch with diamonds and emeralds and an emerald parure (a gift from Richard Burton). Image courtesy of Bulgari. Photo: Getty Images.

The Elizabeth Taylor Bulgari emerald suite, given to her by Richard Burton. The pendant alone achieved US$6,587,500 at the Christie's auction of Elizabeth Taylor's estate in 2011. The ring sold for approximately US$3 million, the necklace for around US$6 million and the bracelet for just over US$400,000.

The Elizabeth Taylor Bulgari emerald suite, given to her by Richard Burton. The pendant alone achieved US$6,587,500 at the Christie's auction of Elizabeth Taylor's estate in 2011. The ring sold for approximately US$3 million, the necklace for around US$6 million and the bracelet for just over US$400,000.

Bulgari Emerald necklace, part of a parure by Bulgari that was given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton. Sold for US$6,130,500.

Bulgari Emerald necklace, part of a parure by Bulgari that was given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton. Sold for US$6,130,500.

Bulgari Emerald bracelet, part of a parure by Bulgari that was given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton and sold at auction for US$402,500.

Bulgari Emerald bracelet, part of a parure by Bulgari that was given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton and sold at auction for US$402,500.

Bulgari Emerald earrings, part of a parure by Bulgari that as given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton and sold at auction for US$3,218,500.

Bulgari Emerald earrings, part of a parure by Bulgari that as given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton and sold at auction for US$3,218,500.

Bulgari Emerald Suite ring, known as the "Taylor Burton fiancée ring". Given to her in 1962, it was the first gift from Burton to Taylor. Its pre-sale estimate was US$600,000-$800,000, but it finally sold for US$3,330,500.

Bulgari Emerald Suite ring, known as the "Taylor Burton fiancée ring". Given to her in 1962, it was the first gift from Burton to Taylor. Its pre-sale estimate was US$600,000-$800,000, but it finally sold for US$3,330,500.

Actress Kate Walsh at the Roman-themed celebration of Elizabeth Taylor's collection of Bulgari jewellery.

Actress Kate Walsh at the Roman-themed celebration of Elizabeth Taylor's collection of Bulgari jewellery.

Drew Barrymore at the Roman-themed celebration of Elizabeth Taylor's collection of Bulgari jewellery.

Drew Barrymore at the Roman-themed celebration of Elizabeth Taylor's collection of Bulgari jewellery.

Kirsten Dunst at the Roman-themed celebration of Elizabeth Taylor's collection of Bulgari jewellery.

Kirsten Dunst at the Roman-themed celebration of Elizabeth Taylor's collection of Bulgari jewellery.

Julianne Moore in Elizabeth Taylor's famous emerald necklace at the Roman-themed celebration of Taylor's collection of Bulgari jewellery.

Julianne Moore in Elizabeth Taylor's famous emerald necklace at the Roman-themed celebration of Taylor's collection of Bulgari jewellery.

Here is how Elizabeth Taylor wore the necklace. This photo shows her in Budapest in 1972 wearing her Bulgari sapphire sautoir with a sugarloaf cabochon sapphire of 52.72ct, a gift from Richard Burton for her 40th birthday in 1972. She later added the ring.

Here is how Elizabeth Taylor wore the necklace. This photo shows her in Budapest in 1972 wearing her Bulgari sapphire sautoir with a sugarloaf cabochon sapphire of 52.72ct, a gift from Richard Burton for her 40th birthday in 1972. She later added the ring.

Elizabeth Taylor wearing the Bulgari emerald earrings that are on display at the V&A as part of the new Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition. Photo: CORBIS.

Elizabeth Taylor wearing the Bulgari emerald earrings that are on display at the V&A as part of the new Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition. Photo: CORBIS.

Elizabeth Taylor's Bulgari sapphire sautoir, one of the many pieces of her jewellery that were auctioned by Christie's in New York in 2011. It sold for almost US$6 million.

Elizabeth Taylor's Bulgari sapphire sautoir, one of the many pieces of her jewellery that were auctioned by Christie's in New York in 2011. It sold for almost US$6 million.

'The Cleopatra Mirror', a 1962 turquoise and gold mirror by Bulgari that Elizabeth Taylor acquired at the end of filming 'Cleopatra'.

'The Cleopatra Mirror', a 1962 turquoise and gold mirror by Bulgari that Elizabeth Taylor acquired at the end of filming 'Cleopatra'.