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Above imageElizabeth Taylor wearing the Taylor-Burton Diamond in a necklace by Cartier

We have sadly lost one of the Hollywood greats recently. Dame Elizabeth Taylor died March 23rd, 2011 aged 79. English born, she spent much of her life in America, first becoming famous as a child actor, not least for her role in National Velvet.

She was strikingly beautiful, with raven hair and violet eyes. Over recent years, she has sadly suffered many severe illnesses but was constantly in the public eye.

Elizabeth Taylor's Diamonds Were Just As Famous

Taylor was married eight times to seven husbands and with each marriage her collection of diamonds increased, particularly when she was married to Richard Burton. Her love of jewellery, particularly diamonds, began early in her life. She acquired one of the greatest private collections of jewellery in the world which was appraised by Francois Curiel of the auction house, Christies. He said,

'I shall never forget the trays and trays of jewellery that were presented to us. At first, it was the sheer volume that struck me, but gradually, as I examined each piece, I was impressed by the quality and variety in the collection.'

When It All Began

Elizabeth began her collection of diamond jewellery in 1945. It was a gold plated and stone brooch which she purchased as a gift for her mother. Her first husband, Mike Todd, showered her with exquisite pieces, including a suite of diamonds and rubies by Cartier, a 30 carat diamond engagement ring and an antique Belle Epoque necklace. He also presented her with a pair of chandelier diamond earrings, which had originally been paste, but which were replaced by Todd with real diamonds as a surprise gift.

The Richard Burton Years

During her two marriages to Richard Burton, her diamond and jewellery collection flourished. They owned pieces such as the Krupp Diamond, the Taylor-Burton Diamond, pieces from the Grand Duchess Vladimir Suite and the La Peregrina Pearl. Money seemed to be no object for the avid collectors and Burton loved nothing better than to please his wife with a new gift of the most exquisite diamonds.

She Wore It Well

Taylor always wore her diamond jewellery. Not for her, the deposit boxes in bank vaults for storage. She knew that these fabulous jewels were made to be worn and just how much they enhanced her beauty.

She had a very unique way of wearing diamonds, often allowing her hairdresser to weave them into her hair along with strands of beautiful pearls. The glitter and stunning elegance of these jewels were offset perfectly by Taylor's famous raven hair.

At the Proust Ball, which was hosted by the famous Rothschilds family, she stunned her fellow guests, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, by ornamenting her hair with jewels by Van Cleefs and Arpels. She wished to recreate the fashions that were written about in Marcel Proust's novel. 'In Search of Lost Time', or in French ' A la recherche du temps perdu'.

A Generous Benefactor

Dame Elizabeth penned her own tribute to her jewellery collection, by writing, 'My Love Affair with Jewellery' in 2002. She allowed her readers a glimpse of the real woman, of how generous she was, and of how fortunate she felt to own such wonderful pieces. She would often loan a piece to a museum so that the public around the world could appreciate the great beauty of an exquisite diamond. She wrote of her collection,

'I'm fortunate to have some very important pieces of jewellery. I don't believe I own any of the pieces. I believe that I am their custodian, here to enjoy them, to give them the best treatment in the world, to watch after their safety and to love them.'

The Appreciation of Beauty

At Monroe Yorke Diamonds, we echo the sentiments of one of the world of diamonds' greatest collectors. To begin your own diamond collection, view the Monroe Yorke Diamonds exquisite and eclectic collections of diamond jewellery and diamonds. You can personally speak with one of our professional diamond experts on 1800 766 567.