Last week, Bulgari held a party at which they displayed several of Ms. Taylor’s most famous Bulgari pieces. This is enough of an excuse for me to talk about her.
More specifically: her Bulgari emeralds.
Elizabeth Taylor’s Bulgari emerald and diamond suite was a gift from her legendary lover and occasional husband, Richard Burton. He bought it for her while they were filming Cleopatra in Italy. (Click here for my review of a book that involves that movie shoot!)
We’re going to take a look at all of the pieces from Elizabeth Taylor’s incredible suite of Bulgari emeralds. It’s going to be great!
(Close-up of the brooch, via Maia Davitashvili.)
This spectacular Bulgari brooch is adorning La Liz’s hair from amid that fluff of feathers in the photo at the top, because she is the coolest person who ever lived. The brooch is mounted en tremblant, designed as a spray of variously-shaped diamond flower blossoms set with oval-cut emerald pistils and petals, extending baguette-cut diamond stems. It’s mounted in platinum and is circa 1960.
These, as you may have surmised, are the earrings. Bulgari, circa 1960, round and pear-shaped diamonds accenting two exceptional pair-shaped emeralds. Also: perfection. These earrings – like their late owner – are glamor incarnate.
Elizabeth Taylor, fabulously wearing some of her Bulgari emeralds. I spy the emerald and diamond earrings and the floral brooch.
Here’s the necklace, possibly the most iconic and fabulous of this set. It’s shown here without the large pendant, which is detachable. It’s rather short, only 14.25 inches. The necklace is set with a graduated series of sixteen rectangular-cut and square-cut emeralds, each within a circular-cut diamond surround, spaced by graduated circular-cut, marquise-cut and pear-shaped diamond quatrefoils. It was made in 1962.
You can see the detail is really spectacular – it’s not just giant emeralds with some diamonds attached, it’s complex and carefully designed.
The pendant/brooch, which could attach to the end of the necklace or be worn on its own. It features a rectangular-cut emerald within a pear-shaped diamond surround. It’s very slightly older than the rest of the set, circa 1958.
Here’s the necklace with the pendant/brooch attached, being handled by some very lucky Christie’s employee.
A beautiful photo of a younger Liz wearing her Bulgari emeralds, minus the necklace.
The bracelet is like a smaller, slightly compressed version of the necklace. It’s set with a graduated series of thirteen rectangular-cut and square-cut emeralds, spaced by rectangular-cut diamonds, trimmed with circular-cut diamond trefoils and pear-shaped diamonds, and is mounted in platinum. It was made in 1963 and is extremely drool-worthy.
Last, but certainly not least, the ring. It’s set with a rectangular-cut emerald, within a circular and modified triangular-cut diamond surround, mounted in platinum. Bulgari, circa 1962. Perfection.
If you want to see more of Liz’s beautiful bling (and why wouldn’t you?) check out my Pinterest board dedicated to her collection.
This one’s just in case you were anything other than totally convinced that she was the coolest ever.
Elisabeth Taylor’s Bulgari emeralds and diamonds were listed in Christie’s December 2011 The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor: The Legendary Jewels, Evening Sale (I). The Images and info in this post came from a number of different sources; please see links in individual descriptions for attributions.
My understanding is Bulgari necklace was commissioned by Bulgari and made by robin howard
William Harper says
Good Evening . One believes that the famous Liz Taylor necklace previous owner was the Woolworths heiress Miss Barbara Hutton who purchased them way back in the 1930s from another famous American Heiress whose name I cannot remember now ?, but Barbara Hutton was living at her newly constructed London mansion at the time which of course was Winfield House where the necklace was. Kept along with all her other jewels in the house safe .
This suite makes me almost (and sometimes actually) tear up when I see, it’s so powerful! This was a beautiful tribute to the jewels and to Elizabeth Taylor, I’ve bookmarked your site and will be back to visit again soon!
Thank you so much, it’s wonderful seeing other people who admire the beauty in her pieces, just as she wanted. <3
I am so happy to hear that! Thank you for this lovely comment, Sara.
Allan Trivette says
Becky – just now ran across this, your wonderful tribute to my adored Elizabeth Taylor! The “emerald necklace was bought for her as a wedding present by Richard Burton” has, I don’t know why, become a “pet peeve” of mine. It was NOT a “wedding present”, and it was NOT bought for her during “Cleopatra”. Burton DID by her the emerald and diamond brooch (later worn with the necklace) during the filming of “Cleopatra”, before they were married. The emerald and diamond “floral” brooch, and the emerald and diamond earrings came from Eddie Fisher, quite some time before the Taylor-Burton affair began. The earliest date-confirmed photo of Taylor wearing the “floral” brooch and the earrings was on October 14, 1961, about three months before Taylor-Burton affair started. Burton bought her the “other” brooch in May of 1962, and she wore it for the first time to a Frank Sinatra concert in Rome on May 24th. Until early 1967, Taylor wore different combinations of the earrings and brooches many, MANY times to special events, premieres, etc. The first public wearing of the necklace was at the Royal Command Performance of “The Taming of the Shrew” on February 27, 1967 (her birthday). After that date, she wore the necklace every time she could…LOL!!! The first “appearance” of the necklace that I have yet to find, was on June 10, 1966 when it was worn by Gina Lollobrigida at Monaco’s “Centenary Ball”, just over two years AFTER the Burton-Taylor wedding on March 15, 1964. Since Lollobrigida never owned the necklace, it must surely have been loaned to her by Bulgari. Could it be this was Bulgari’s way of getting publicity for and “introducing” its newest creation to gather attention for a buyer? Could it be that Burton was that buyer? That’s my hunch because within a year it was around Taylor’s neck!!! If you’d like photos of the events I’ve mentioned, please feel free to use the requested e-mail address. All the best to you!
Great to hear from you! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.
I’m a little confused by the first part of your comment because I didn’t say that the emerald necklace was a wedding present – I correctly identified it as a present from Burton during the filming of Cleopatra, just as you did. But I love how much you know about Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry! She’s a true jewelry hero of mine (as she is for many people) and I love meeting other who are passionate about her collection too.
Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
All my best,
Allan Trivette says
Becky – sorry for the delay in response, but I just this moment became aware that you DID respond. My comments might have been hard to follow, but you mentioned the “suite” was given to Elizabeth by Burton DURING the filming of “Cleopatra”. That’s what got me started….LOL! ONLY the brooch came from Burton while they were filming “Cleopatra”. She already had the earrings (from Fisher), and the necklace doesn’t show up on her until the “Taming of the Shrew” premiere in early 1967. There are NUMEROUS books, articles, etc., that state the necklace was a “wedding gift”. That is simply not true as confirmed by the dates involved. With all that’s going on in the world, this “emerald saga” (LOL!!!) is certainly trivial, but for some reason, the erroneous statements that have been printed in SOOO many places have always been a bone of contention for me. Maybe I have too much time on my hands…LOL!
Dan Pytko says
Thanks for clarifying the history of Elizabeth’s emerald collection. There are so many conflicting stories floating about.
Even though I don’t have any “events” to wear this to, I’d wear it at home while vacuuming, washing the dishes taking a shower! I’m sure those Emeralds and Diamonds would love a good washing and especially since they were Elisabeth’s, I’d sleep in them!!
Amen to that, Ruthie!! You’re a lady after my own heart.