Elizabeth Taylor Jewelry Auction Nets $116 Million

Posted December 14th, 2011 at 12:55 pm (UTC-5)
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The jewelry collection of Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor has sold for nearly $116 million–a new world record for a private collection.

Just one of the late actress's necklaces alone brought in more than $11.8 million, setting a world record for the price of a pearl jewel. Taylor's two-time husband, actor Richard Burton, bought the necklace for her in 1969 for $37,000.

“It's a 16th century pearl which has belonged to many kings and queens and other royal provenance. We knew it would do well, but no one dreamt that it would bring $11 million, which is a world record price for a pearl jewel.”

The 16th century pearl, known as “La Peregrina,” was part of a collection of Taylor's necklaces, earrings, pendants, rings and other gems that were up for bids at Christie's auction house in New York City Tuesday.

A 33.19-carat diamond ring Burton gave Taylor sold for more than $8.8 million, about triple the amount it was estimated to get. A diamond and sapphire ring given to Taylor by her friend, the late singer Michael Jackson, went for $600,000.

Taylor, a screen goddess who starred in film classics such as Cleopatra, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof died in March at age 79.

Additional sales of her art, clothing and other items will be held later in the week. Part of the proceeds will go to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, which she established in 1991.