17 December 2011

Random Jewel Tidbits

A couple of things have happened this week in magpie land that are worth your attention, if you haven't already devoured the info...

Elizabeth Taylor's Jewels
After the passing of Dame Elizabeth Taylor, I wrote a bit about the jewels in her miraculous collection, some of which have royal provenance. This week they were auctioned, and we have a new record for the highest price ever fetched by a personal jewel collection: $137.2 million, over two days of bidding! I watched Tuesday's auction online, and it was crazy. People were bidding like true mad magpies. A set of paper jewels (not paste, literally cut out of paper) sold for nearly $7,000 to the owners of a jewelry store in Virginia who plan to use the pieces for publicity. Jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz bought back a bracelet originally designed by her, and a pair of earrings from Mike Todd. Kim Kardashian bought a set of three bangle bracelets for over $60,000. But that's small potatoes, comparatively speaking. A few of the notable pieces:
The Prince of Wales Brooch, originally belonging to the Duchess of Windsor, was estimated at $400,000 -$600,000; it sold for $1,314,500. I actually found that to be a pretty low price compared to the inflated prices everything else was bringing in. Many wondered if the Prince of Wales would bid on this, as he was reported to have been one of the people Ms. Taylor outbid when she purchased it for herself.
Her stunning Bulgari emerald parure from Richard Burton was sold in individual pieces and each one brought a price way over the estimate. The earrings were estimated at $150,000 - $200,000; they sold for $3,218,500. The ring was estimated at $600,000 - $800,000; it sold for $3,330,500. The bracelet was estimated at $300,000 - $500,000 and sold for $4,002,500. The necklace, estimated at $1m - $1.5m, sold for $6,130,500; it was reportedly bought back by Bulgari, who also scooped up a sapphire sautoir. And the pendant (which can be worn as a brooch) sold separately for the highest dollar amount: $6,578,500 (estimate was $500,000 - $700,000). Total price for the whole set? $23,260,500. Good. Grief.
The Mike Todd Diamond Tiara was estimated at a paltry (ha) $60,000 - $80,000 and sold for $4,226,500 - a fairly high price for what it is, though certainly not a record-breaking price for a tiara.
The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond Ring, a 33 carat wonder, was estimated at $2.5 - $3.5 million and brought in $8,818,500 from a Korean conglomerate (who will exhibit it at an amusement park), but that wasn't the most sought after item from the collection.
No, that designation belongs to La Peregrina, the 16th century pearl that has been worn by a rich history of royals and which many hoped would end up back in the possession of the Spanish royal family. But at $11.84 million (estimates had it at $2 - 3 million) - making it the most expensive pearl ever sold - I think that's basically out of the question...unless they have a very generous admirer. (The winning bidder is, as of now, anonymous.) I can only hope that the new owner will be as generous with this piece of history as Ms. Taylor was and will allow it to be exhibited.

Here's a link to the items from last Tuesday's sale. 

A New Documentary
Many of you are already aware of this, but for those that don't read the comments here: there is a new documentary airing in Denmark, De Kongelige Juveler, or The Royal Jewels. It's a two part look at, yes, the royal jewels; part 1 follows the story of Empress Joséphine and the jewels she owned as well as the jewels of her many descendants in the royal houses of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Part 2 focuses on Russian jewels. It's in Danish, but features interviews in English with Queen Margrethe, Crown Princess Mary, and Queen Silvia among others. It's entirely understandable for non-Danish speakers, not to worry. It is also airing in Australia on SBS, Part 1 will air on Christmas day. Additionally, a book is to be released in late 2012.

And many thanks to all of you that emailed in, knowing I would love it! I do!

Photos: Christie's/Telegraph