Legacy & Levity, Jewels & Joy

The auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s “Legendary Jewels” by Christie’s earlier this month brings up memories of the woman and all manner of superlatives about her and the jewels themselves. Indisputably, a great deal of the record-breaking prices attained – seven world records, imagine! – relates to the their provenance – the  romance behind the jewels and the legacy that the iconic film star left to the world.

Not everyone agrees that all the jewelry particularly flattered Taylor, but there is no doubt that she possessed one of the most fabulous collections of jewels ever amassed. Comedienne Joan Rivers, who has her own line of elaborate albeit ersatz jewels, found that Taylor gave her plenty of fodder for her stand-up comedy routines over the years. Yet Taylor “never let Joan Rivers’ stand-up stand in the way of their friendship.” Just in time for the holidays, the December 2011/January 2012 issue of More gives Rivers a platform for her thoughts on the auction in a piece entitled “Can We Talk Jewels?”

About the Ping-Pong diamond rings, a group of three solitaires from Burton given on the occasion of Taylor beating him at Ping-Pong, Rivers writes: “I keep telling Venus and Serena Williams they’re in the wrong sport.”

About the Taj Mahal Diamond on a Cartier gold and ruby chain, a 40th birthday gift from Burton, which sold for $8.8 million: “It’s the largest collection of family jewels on exhibit in one place since the Baldwin brothers took a sauna together.”  

About the Elizabeth Taylor diamond, 33.19 carats, a gift from Richard Burton, which also sold for $8.8 million: “She said it was her favorite. She wore it almost every day, which would explain the gravy stains.”

In the midst of all the holiday bustle, let’s remember those no longer with us, revel in our festive traditions, and enjoy more than a dollop of mirth. Happy Holidays! I send you heartfelt wishes for a joyful and prosperous New Year. May your fondest dreams come true.