The heart-shaped diamond is associated with one of history’s greatest love stories. It belonged to Emperor Shah Jahangir, who had the diamond inscribed with his wife’s name “Nur Jahan.” He later passed the stone on to his son, Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife Mumtaz, who died in childbirth.
“I would have liked to buy her the Taj Mahal but it would cost too much to transport,” Burton remarked after buying it.
Cartier later recreated the diamond’s original silk cord as a gold rope-like necklace set with rubies and diamonds.
The necklace has a pre-sale estimate of $300,000 to $500,000.
“Jewelry was a way of life for Elizabeth Taylor. They were her friends. She enjoyed wearing them and it gave her a lot of pleasure because they reminded her of the great moments in her life, the great places in her life,” Kadakia said.
Inside was a ruby necklace, matching earrings and bracelet.
“She was so, so happy that she jumped into the pool wearing all this jewelry and started doing laps,” said Kadakia, adding that the pieces will be sold separately.
One of the most extravagant gifts Taylor received from Burton was the asscher-cut 33.19-carat diamond set in a platinum ring. Known as the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, Kadakia said its size and clarity _ “as white as they can be and potentially flawless” makes it a perfect gem.
Burton purchased it in 1968 at a New York auction for $305,000. At the December sale, it’s expected to fetch $2.5 million to $3.5 million.
Among the pieces of jewelry that Taylor purchased for herself was the Duchess of Windsor diamond brooch, which she got at auction for $620,000. Kadakia said she paid a big price for it for two reasons, to remember her friend and because the proceeds were going to a cause dear to her, AIDS research.
The brooch is estimated to bring $400,000 to $600,000.
Eighty of the most iconic pieces will be sold on the evening of Dec. 13. The following day, 189 more gems will be sold. About 500 pieces of Taylor’s costume jewelry will be sold online at the same time.
Christie’s also will be selling the star’s haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion, accessories, 20th-century decorative arts and film memorabilia from her Bel Air home on Dec. 14-16. Details have not been released.