I’ve been waiting to get to this one- it’s all about the fashion and the JEWELS! Elizabeth Taylor epitomized Hollywood glamour throughout her career. She dressed to suit her famous figure; Elizabeth Taylor was one woman who made curves fashionable. She had the ability to make everything she wore look good, she could make a bathrobe look like couture and was seductive even while wearing button-down tops and jeans.
But that didn’t mean that she wore off the rack! While many of her clothes were custom made by studio designers, she loved Valentino, Chanel, Christian Dior and Yves Saint-Laurent. Many of the gowns she wore in the 1970s and 1980s were custom-designed by her friend, Gianni Versace. The famous kaftans she wore in the 1970s were by Thea Porter, Vicky Tiel and Yves Saint-Laurent. She also collected Hermes and Louis Vuitton Luggage suites and couture outfits.
When it came to dressing Liz was truly revolutionary-she knew how to dress with panache, pairing her outfits with punchy accessories to create an inimitable look. In the 1950s she topped off her chic sheaf dresses with tiaras, and her 1960s experiments with capes, silk turbans, scarves and dramatic eyeliner are still replicated today. She incorporated unexpected accessories like veils, hats and furs into her outfits onscreen and off, always finishing her looks with a fabulous frosting of gem-incrusted jewelry.
Elizabeth Taylor’s love of jewelry was incredible. She often referred to jewels as the third love of her life- along with with ex-husbands Richard Burton and Mike Todd. Her love of beautiful jewelry was so well known that ex-suitor Howard Hughes once proposed to her by suddenly landing a helicopter nearby and sprinkling her with diamonds. She started collecting priceless gems early on in her career and during her life it grew into the almost-mythological collection that is so revered today.
Her collection of gems was comparable to one of a modern maharajah; she did indeed own the fabulous Krupp Diamond (later renamed the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond), the ancient La Peregrina pearl (which had been owned by Spanish Queens Margarita and Isabel), the Taj Mahal Diamond (which belonged to Mughal Emperors and is inscribed with the name of a legendary Queen) and the Mike Todd Tiara (an antique piece, circa 1880)…. and that’s just the tip of the jeweled iceberg!
She also avidly collected pieces from contemporary jewelers such as Bucheron, Schlumberger, Cartier, Ruser, Van Cleef and Arpels, Tiffany and Chopard. Many of her pieces were gifts from her ex-husbands, particularly Richard Burton, who once joked, “I would have liked to buy the Taj Mahal for Elizabeth, but it would have cost too much to transport it.”
Elizabeth had her hand in designing many of her famous pieces, like her beautiful JAR Sapphire Ear Clips. The earrings were constructed of horizontal bands of white diamonds and two colours of sapphires, and were meant to mimic the unusual colour of her eyes. Designer Joel Rosenthal explains her the design, “She said to me, ‘My eyes are blue, like yours. sometimes green. It’s the others who think they see violet.’ So, the striped balls are her vision of colour, and the world’s.”
Liz’s collection of jewelry was documented in her 2002 biography “My Love Affair With Jewelry.” Her love of jewelry inspired her to name her best-selling fragrances after her favorite stones- ‘White Diamonds,’ ‘Diamonds and Sapphires,’ ‘Diamonds and Rubies,’ ‘Diamonds and Emeralds,’ and ‘Black Pearls’ to name a few. She appeared in her fragrance advertisements bedecked in the gems the scents were named for. Who can forget her “White Diamonds” Commercials from the 90s? (links below!)
At the time of her death, her jewelry collection was valued at $150 million. In 2011 The Elizabeth Taylor Foundation paired with Christie’s Auction House to host the Elizabeth Taylor Collection; an auction of over $130 million worth of jewelry, clothes, art and memorabilia. The collection toured the world for three months before it was auctioned off in Christie’s London and New York, and fetched more than $113 million for AIDS research.
You were an icon of style, grace and beauty, you were a generous humanitarian, but most of all you were and will continue to be an inspiration to women world wide. Three years on and your passing still evokes grief. Rest in Peace, you were too fab!