Why Elizabeth Taylor loved diamonds
When it comes to love there’s nothing Elizabeth Taylor didn’t experience. The actress was frequently referred to as a hopeless romantic due to her countless marriages. In her lifetime, Elizabeth got married eight times, twice to the same man. But, it wasn’t her romances with men that truly made headlines. Instead, Elizabeth started a love affair with diamonds. Throughout the years, Elizabeth managed to build up an impressive diamond jewellery collection which would make any woman green with envy. But what has truly been some of her most memorable pieces?
Her first engagement ring
In 1950, Elizabeth’s love affair with diamonds started when hotelier and founder of the Hilton Hotels chain, Conrad Hilton (Paris Hilton’s great uncle) proposed to the actress with a 4 carat diamond platinum ring worth R132 000. It might not have been the biggest ring in her collection, but it was most certainly the piece of jewellery that started it all. Unfortunately, the couple’s relationship only lasted for a couple of months before they decided to go their separate ways.
Elizabeth Taylor got married eight times during her lifetime
Elizabeth’s diamond tiara
In 1957, Elizabeth went on to meet her third husband, Mike Todd. The American theatre and film producer had no trouble showing off his romantic side. Mike proposed to Elizabeth with a 29.4 carat emerald cut engagement ring. But, the extravagant gifts didn’t stop there. He also gave Elizabeth one of her most memorable jewellery pieces, a famous tiara. The actress was spotted wearing the gorgeous accessory at the 1957 Academy Awards. “When [third husband Mike Todd] gave me this tiara, he said, ‘You’re my queen, and I think you should have a tiara,'” Taylor wrote in A Life in Jewelry. “I wore it for the first time when we went to the Academy Awards. It was the most perfect night, because Mike’s film Around the World in 80 Days won for Best Picture. It wasn’t fashionable to wear tiaras then, but I wore it anyway, because he was my king.”
Her third husband, Mike Todd bought her a diamond tiara
Her ruby suite
If it wasn’t enough that Mike spoiled Elizabeth with a breathtakingly beautiful engagement ring and tiara, he also went ahead and surprised her with a diamond-and-ruby bib necklace set while she was swimming in the pool. Elizabeth recalled the remarkable day in her book. “He was holding a red leather box, and inside was a ruby-and-diamond bib necklace, which glittered in the warm light. It was like the sun, lit up and made of red fire,” she wrote. “First Mike put it around my neck and smiled. Then he bent down and put matching earrings on me. Next came the bracelet.” One thing is for sure, Elizabeth was one lucky girl.
Elizabeth was ecstatic after Mike surprised her with a diamond-and-ruby bib necklace set
One of Elizabeth’s controversial marriages was to Carrie Fisher’s father, Eddie Fisher. The actor left his wife, Debbie Reynolds, only to ask his best friend’s widow, Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. Instead of giving her an engagement ring he presented her with a diamond bracelet. But this was no ordinary bracelet, it had 50 diamonds and weighed 40 carats making it a great addition to her jewellery collection.
Actor, Eddie Fisher proposed to Elizabeth with a diamond pendant
Her chandelier earrings
There’s something truly romantic behind the way Elizabeth got her beautiful chandelier earrings. The actress originally bought the earrings at a boutique in Paris. But back then when she purchased the sparkly pair they were made from glass gems. However, it was not long before the jewellery pieces went from plain gems to magnificent diamonds. Elizabeth wrote about the special moment the earrings transformed in her book. “A few months later, back in New York, I was getting ready for a party and went to put them on. I opened the box, and the earrings looked all polished up. I put them on,” she wrote. “There was something different about how they fit. I said, ‘Mike, there’s something wrong with my earrings.’ He chuckled and said he’d had them made up with real diamonds!”
Mike replaced her plain gem earrings with actual diamonds
After Mike Todd the actress went on to meet another man who understand her love for diamonds. Richard Burton proposed to Elizabeth with a platinum-set pendant featuring an 18.61 carat emerald surrounded by diamonds. This beautiful piece of jewellery had a remarkable feature. The bottom part of the pendant was able to detached and be warn as a brooch. Later, in their marriage Richard also gifted her with the famous Taylor-Burton Diamond. It was a piece of jewellery that most certainly went down in history. The actor did everything in his power to present Elizabeth with this remarkable diamond. After losing the bid against Cartier at an auction Richard made sure he would make them a counter offer they couldn’t refuse. According to him the most beautiful diamond needed to be with the most beautiful woman (naturally, Elizabeth Taylor).
Richard Burton understood Elizabeth’s love for diamonds more than anyone
Even though Richard spoiled her with diamonds, the relationship didn’t last. The couple called it quits after ten year of marriage. However, the couple decided to remarry 16 months later during a magical ceremony in Botswana. It was then that Richard showered her with royal diamonds. He gave Elizabeth the Grand Duchess of Russia’s emeralds. The set included a pair of earrings, bracelets and a matching necklace filled with diamonds and emeralds. This was definitely one of Elizabeth’s most extravagant gifts ever. Soon after, Richard and Elizabeth decided to go their separate ways once and for all.
Richard gave her the Grand Duchess of Russia’s emeralds
Richard Burton didn’t have a problem showing off his romantic side during his time with Elizabeth. The actor loved to be spontaneous and would randomly surprise her with ‘It’s Tuesday, I love you’ jewellery.’ One day he took her on an outing to buy a beautiful necklace that she wore at a Paris premiere in 1968.
The actress was the proud owner of the Taylor-Burton diamond
Even though Elizabeth went on to have eight marriages, it was her love for diamonds that truly stuck. The actress once explained it was her job to look after these magnificent jewellery pieces while she was alive, only for her to pass it on to the next generation to enjoy. “I’ve never thought of my jewellery as trophies. I’m here to take care of them and to love them,” she said. Today, a few of her diamond jewellery pieces can be purchased at large diamond auctions worldwide.
Elizabeth enjoyed wearing her jewellery, and not just on special occasions