Liz Taylor’s auction raises $258,000 for AIDS

Elizabeth Taylor hosted a benefit auction Thursday at Christies in New York that raised $258,000 for The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, according to media reports. Among the items sold was an $80,000 emerald-and-diamond ring she received from Richard Burton as an engagement gift in 1962.

Taylor told the crowd that Burton’s ring was ”a symbol of one of the great moments of my life. . . . Please know that it is not easy for me to give it away. . . . My love is inside that ring forever,” USA Today reports. ”Only my commitment to AIDS persuaded me to let it go. I hope tonight you will be very, very generous. It will make it a little easier for me. Seriously.”

The auction/party was hosted by In Style magazine to celebrate Taylor’s new book, Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair With Jewelry. The book is out today with 175 color photos, many of her wearing the jewels, and stories of each acquisition.

Taylor also auctioned seven pieces created specially for the occasion by her favorite jewelers, including Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and Bulgari.

Jennifer Tilly spent $22,000 for a ruby and gold pendant by Bulgari, and talk host Caroline Rhea, who as a child dreamed of meeting Taylor, paid $15,000 for a pink sapphire and diamond ring by Van Cleef, USA Today reports. Elton John paid $19,000 for a ruby/pink sapphire ring by JAR and handed it to Cornelia Guest, his date.

More gems from her collection are on view at the Rockefeller Center Christie’s through Oct. 14.