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- October 24, 2011
- Vol. 76
- No. 16
Elizabeth Taylor's Treasures
MIKE TODD TIARA
Her third husband lavished Taylor with jewelry, including this crown fit for a queen. The 19th-century diamond tiara "likely belonged to aristocracy," says Christie's head of jewelry Rahul Kadakia. Taylor debuted the tiara at the 1957 Oscars, when Todd's Around the World in 80 Days won Best Picture.
Taylor's Cleopatra costumer Irene Sharoff made this silk chiffon dress for her first wedding to Richard Burton in Montreal in 1964. "It's kind of Cleopatra goes '60s," says Christie's fashion curator Meredith Etherington-Smith.
This bracelet will be the first item up for bid when the auction begins. One of six charm bracelets for sale, it includes charms representing each of her children and Richard Burton. "All the charm bracelets were personal to Elizabeth," says Kadakia. "They were built over time."
LOUIS VUITTON LUGGAGE
Never one to travel lightly (Debbie Reynolds once said she spotted Elizabeth's luggage before the star herself), Taylor owned several sets of Vuitton. She marked each bag with lilac name tags saying only "Mine."
A GIFT FROM MICHAEL JACKSON
A close friend of Taylor's, Jackson found this antique posset pot while traveling. No, he didn't get it monogrammed-it was made in 1743 for another Liz.
"Dame Elizabeth never left her house without looking absolutely immaculate," says Etherington-Smith. These satin, bead and feather bags (several more are also up for bid) were wardrobe favorites around the year 2000. "Valentino knocked them out for her."
THE FACE JACKET
What to make for the woman who has everything? A jacket beaded with portraits of her-including one as Cleopatra. Taylor wore the Atelier Versace creation to a 1989 dinner for amfAR, the AIDS charity she championed. (Some proceeds from the collection's tour will go to her Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.)
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC GOWN
Created for Taylor for the 1977 film A Little Night Music, it was also perfect for her new role as wife to Senator John Warner. Inset: A place card that Warner wittily inscribed on the night of her Washington debut in the play The Little Foxes in 1981.
THE TAJ MAHAL NECKLACE
A gift from Burton for Taylor's 40th birthday, its diamond was believed to have been given by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to his wife, Mumtaz-I-Mahal. When she died in 1631, her husband built a grand mausoleum in her honor-the Taj Mahal.
Not everyone needs to be a millionaire to participate in the auction. Fans can also go online from Dec. 3 to Dec. 17 to bid on 900 more affordable pieces like this art deco brooch, estimated at $100 to $200. Appropriate, says Etherington-Smith: "Why can't we all enjoy Elizabeth Taylor?"
THE KRUPP DIAMOND
"Elizabeth wore it every day," says Kadakia. Burton bought the 33.19-carat ring for Taylor in 1968 for $305,000. The gem is estimated at $2.5 to $3.5 million (the total value of the jewelry is about $30 million) but could go for much more, says Kadakia, "when you add in the Liz factor. No one has any idea what the final figure will be."
Taylor loved a good pair of boots, the more whimsical the better, and a closetful of them are up for sale. "These are major boots, exotic skin and all," says Etherington-Smith. Her favorite place to show them off? "On the back of Malcolm Forbes's motorbike."
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