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“You can’t cry on a diamond’s
shoulder and diamonds won’t
keep you warm at night, but they
sure are fun when the sun shines”
– Elizabeth Taylor
In 1969, when a 69.42-carat pear-shape diamond ring was put up for auction in New York, Richard Burton arranged for it to be flown to his home in Gstaad so that he and his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, could view it ahead of the auction.
At the auction, bidding commenced at $200,000 with many bidders participating, but by the time it reached $500,000, only nine were still active. Finally, at $850,000 it whittled down to two bidders: Al Yugler representing Richard Burton and Robert Kenmore representing the house of Cartier.
Yugler had been given a limit of $1,000,000 by Burton and so, when the price reached that point, he dropped out. The result was that Robert Kenmore won the stone for Cartier with a final bid of $1050,000.
Burton was furious and the very next day had his lawyer contact Cartier to buy the stone. Burton recalled later: “I screamed at Aaron that bugger Cartiers, I was going to get that diamond if it cost me my life or 2 million dollars, whichever was the greater. For 24 hours the agony persisted and in the end I won. I got the bloody thing.“
A condition of the sale by Cartier was that the extraordinary gem would be put on display in the window of Cartier Fifth Avenue for a week, before it was shipped to Taylor and Burton.
After the deal was concluded, the New York Daily News headline read "Liz Gets That Peachy Pear" whilst Burton told the New York Times, "It's just a present for Liz".
Over 6,000 people a day lined up to see the celebrated stone. Salesmen fielded questions about how Elizabeth Taylor was going to wear the diamond. She had plans to keep it in the ring setting as well as wear it in a new Cartier necklace of pear-shaped gems.
When the jewel was sent to Taylor and Burton, an elaborate security plot was devised including three men with identical suitcases being dispatched from Cartier as decoys. One delivered it to the couple on their yacht Kalizma in Monaco where they had gone to attend Princess Grace’s 40th birthday party. Taylor caused a sensation when pictures of her were published wearing the diamond.
Shortly after the couple divorced in 1976, Elizabeth Taylor sold the diamond and donated a portion of the proceeds to fund the building of a hospital in Botswana. While the actress expressed regrets at selling the diamond over the years, she most likely chose to do so because the insurance policy was prohibitive about how often she could wear it and how she needed to be attended by armed guards when she did so.
The Elizabeth Taylor Ring is part of The Celebrity Collection – authentic yet wearable replicas of the world’s most iconic celebrity rings – all set with genuine, earth-friendly Tru-Diamonds™.