February 27 is the birthday of one of history’s most beloved beauties, an icon of film and fashion, and one of the greatest jewelry collectors of modern times.
Elizabeth Taylor was born in 1932 in a suburb of London to American parents. When the family moved to California during World War II, her father’s art gallery attracted many of Hollywood’s rich and famous, and young Liz’s striking beauty quickly drew the interest of leading movie producers. She was nine when she made her first movie, and soon won a ground-breaking contract with MGM that marked the start of a career that redefined “star” forever.
Her glamour, passionate performances, luxurious lifestyle and tempestuous relationships made her a hugely popular public figure for many decades. Her death in 2011 was greatly mourned but her legacy of elegance and style lives on.
In particular, Taylor’s affinity for jewelry was legendary. Over her lifetime, she amassed a collection of fine jewelry and gemstones with a total estimated worth of $150 million. Her relationships with other collectors, such as husband Richard Burton, and her own exquisite taste, led to an extraordinary collection that shattered records when her estate came to auction after her death in 2011.
Liz Taylor’s Gemstones – The Taj Mahal Diamond, La Peregrina, and more
Below: The ultimate mother’s bracelet. The medallions are engraved with the names & birth dates of Taylor’s children, plus a gold loupe & mementos from her films.
(From Forbes’ Gallery of Taylor’s Jewels)