Like the famous Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, the Taylor-Burton Diamond was another of Richard Burton’s extravagant gifts to wife Elizabeth Taylor during their public and tumultuous marriages. It’s also the final famous diamond in our series.
The couple’s emotionally-charged private life often drew more attention than their movie roles, and their luxurious tastes, Taylor’s love for diamonds especially, were legendary.
The 69.42-carat diamond is a D-color, flawless, pear-shape with 58 facets and was graded by GIA. Following its discovery in South Africa in 1966, it was cut by Harry Winston and eventually sold to Cartier for $1.05 million in 1969. Burton purchased the diamond the very next day for an estimated $1.1 million (the exact amount has never been disclosed), Crowds lined the streets for the chance to catch a glimpse of the famous diamond before Burton picked up the gift for Taylor.
The expensive gift was just one of many exchanged between Taylor and Burton during their first marriage. Taylor originally wore the diamond in a ring, but eventually had it redesigned by Cartier into a necklace. During her ownership of the famous gem from 1969 to 1978, Elizabeth Taylor wore the beautiful necklace to the 1970 Academy Awards. She later sold the necklace and donated part of the proceeds to help fund a hospital in Botswana.
Main image courtesy of N. W. Ayers & Sons.