When it comes to jewelry, what is the value of provenance? In other words, how much have Liz Taylor’s legendary bijoux appreciated just because she wore them so glamorously?
On December 13, the world will find out. That day, as Christie’s spreads her collection to the winds, jewelers everywhere (as well as most other kinds of person) will be watching to see how much her valuables fetch.
“She really is the last of Hollywood royalty,” said Professor Michael Coan, chair of FIT’s Jewelry Design department.
Take the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, the 33.19-carat rock that Richard Burton gave her and that she wore everywhere. It’s valued at $2.5 to $3.5 million; how much more will her glamorous finger add to it?
Or the Prince of Wales Brooch, a piece without any pricey gems to speak of, which she bought from the Duchess of Windsor for $400,000, after it was valued at just $80,000. “If it goes for over half a million dollars, it not only has the cachet of the Duchess of Windsor, but also the cachet of Liz Taylor,” said Professor Coan. “If it goes for $80,000, then it means we don’t give a damn who owned it. But I would not be surprised to see it go for $800,000.”
A complicating factor is that the proceeds will benefit amfAR, the American Foundation for AIDS Research. The wealthy might open their pocketbooks a bit wider because it will make them look good. As will Ms. Taylor’s bodacious bling.