Tuesday, December 6, 2011

At Christie's, 'The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor'

The Elizabeth Taylor collection of jewelry, fine arts, textiles, fashions, etc. is on display and will be auctioned at Christie's. Photos courtesy of Christie's.

THE great late Elizabeth Taylor is as famous for myriad marriages as she is for iconic film roles as she is for her eye-popping jewelry collection.

The latter has arrived in New York after a several months-long mini world tour in time for the exhibition, “The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor,” that opened Saturday at Christie’s and shutters on 12 Dec. The jewels, along with decorative arts, film memorabilia, costumes and couture pieces, are to be sold over four days in five online and offline auctions at Christie’s commencing on 13 Dec.

The auctions are broken down in categories under the “Collection” rubric:
The Legendary Jewels, Evening Sale (I), 13 Dec.
Jewelry (II), 14 Dec.
The Icon and her Haute Couture, Evening Sale (III), 14 Dec.
Fashion and Accessories (IV), 15 Dec.
Fine and Decorative Art & Film Memorabilia, including costumes (V), 16 Dec.

A tiara befitting a queen of cinema.

This will be no ordinary exhibit or auctions, of the jewelry in particular, for two reasons. First, ET is an iconic figure. Second, because she is well-known for having a keen eye for good jewelry (and art) her collection is thought to be by those in the know one of the best private collections ever to be auctioned.

“From her most jaw-dropping diamonds, gems, and one-of-a-kind historic jewels, to cherished ‘It's Tuesday, I love you gifts’, and never-before-seen keepsakes, Elizabeth Taylor's magnificent collection of jewels promises to captivate the auction world this fall, Marc Porter, Chairman and President of Christie's Americas said in a press release before the jewels made their first stop in Moscow.

The emerald set is among the pieces and ensembles of jewelry that Elizabeth Taylor received from Richard Burton.

Continues MP, “This is without a doubt the greatest private collection of jewelry ever assembled in one place, and Christie's is honored to have been entrusted with the global tour of the collection this fall, and the sale of the collection in its entirety this December.”

Indeed, it is an eye-popping, jaw dropping collection. If not the centerpiece, quite near it is the famed Bvlgari Emerald Suite (Est.: nearly $4 million) from two-time spouse Richard Burton. It comprises a necklace, pendant, ring, bracelet and earrings. From another husband is the Mike Todd Diamond Tiara (Est.: $60K-$80K) reportedly for the director’s “queen.” ET wore the tiara to the 1957 Academy Awards in Los Angeles where MT’s “Around the World in 80 Days" won the Best Picture statuette.

The Valentino gown in signature red is one of many couture pieces that the designer created specifically for the actor.

Another gift from RB, who probably presented ET with more jewelry than any other man in her life, is the 8.24 carat Richard Burton Ruby and Diamond Ring (Est.: upward of $1.5 million). It was designed by Van Cleef & Arpels, which earlier this year staged an exhibition that included ET jewelry. (http://www.ow.ly/7XhZy)

According to Christie’s, the 269 pieces of jewelry are expected to fetch “well in excess of” $30 million. On the auction block will be more than 2,000 items, including the nonjewelry items for which Christie’s has not disclosed a fetching price. For the first time in the history of the auction house, Christie’s will accept online bids.

Roughly half of the items in “The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor” will be available for online bidding. A portion of profits from admissions, events and select publications related to the sales will be donated to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF, http://www.elizabethtayloraidsfoundation.org/).

An autographed photo from Elizabeth Taylor's most famous friend.

In The Icon and her Haute Couture is another treasure-trove utterly worthy of an exhibition. The actor was a close friend and big customer of Valentino. Among her purchases is a red gown; not doubt it matched RB’s ruby and diamond ring or his Ruby and Diamond Necklace (Est. up to $3 million) from Cartier.

David Hockneys and Andy Warhols figure among the items in the Fine and Decorative Art & Film Memorabilia category, as well as a Michael Jackson (Est.: $2K-$3K). The photo by Jim Yuckich is from the cover of the single, “Liberian Girl.” It is signed “To My True Love Elizabeth, I love you forever, Michael Jackson!.”

A sale of the actor-activist’s Impressionist & Modern Art is planned for February at Christie’s London.

Visit http://www.christies.com/elizabethtaylor to learn more about “The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor,” including admission to the exhibit.

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