Elizabeth and Richard
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while filming the classic film, Cleopatra back in 1962. And while the famous couple proceeded to marry, then divorce and marry again, there’s one thing everyone remembers, that incredible 33.9 carat diamond! Burton didn’t actually propose with this stunning diamond, they were 4 years into their marriage when he gifted Elizabeth the diamond. This iconic diamond was later dubbed the “Elizabeth Taylor Diamond” after Taylor’s death in 2011. Richard Burton purchased this diamond, originally named the Krupp diamond, at auction in 1968 for $307,000 — a measly price compared to its price tag now. Gifted to Taylor while in London aboard their yacht, the diamond was later set into a ring setting. This gorgeous ring became part of her persona and is now almost as much of an icon as Elizabeth was herself.
At a whopping 33.19 carats, the asscher-cut diamond is extremely impressive and beautiful, of course. If you factor in the D color and VS1 clarity, you have a diamond that nobody could resist. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) reports that the diamond is Type lla, which means that rocks like these have such incredible transparency and they are actually proven to be chemically purer than most other diamonds. Elizabeth always described this ring as her favorite piece throughout her entire collection of fine jewelry.
While this is quite the diamond, this was not the first time that Elizabeth had been given such a stunner of an engagement ring. Mike Todd, Elizabeth’s third marriage partner, had given her a gorgeous ring from Cartier in 1957. It says a whole lot about the famous “Taylor Ring” that the emerald cut 29.4 carat ring from Todd is often overlooked when it comes to exploring Elizabeth’s immaculate jewelry collection.
Even after their second divorce in 1976, Elizabeth insisted on holding onto her precious engagement ring from Richard and wore it almost every day. She did, however, go on to sell most of the other pieces of jewelry he gifted her during their marriages. More often than not, Elizabeth wore jewelry from her own collection while she was on TV and in movies. So in December of 2011, after she had died, the famous ring, alongside other jewels, were sold at a Christie’s auction. The total amount after all of the sales came out to a whopping $156 million. Contributing to that, the Taylor ring was then sold for $8.8 million (which is now equivalent to $10 million in 2021) to the South Korean Conglomerate E-Land. The sale of the ring set a record price per carat of $265,697 for a colorless diamond.