- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 3, 2002

"When I look at my jewels, I realize what a very lucky girl I am." A sparkling chunk of actress Elizabeth Taylor's "luck" is now on view at Christie's in New York in an exhibit accompanying the release of the Hollywood icon's coffee-table heavyweight: "Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair With Jewelry."
The Christie's show comprises 30 personally selected pieces from Miss Taylor's renowned personal collection and includes several stunning gifts from two-time husband Richard Burton.
Taking pride of place amid the emerald necklaces and ruby brooches is the celebrated 33.19-carat Krupp Diamond, given by Mr. Burton.
"It was owned by Vera Krupp of the famous German munitions family which helped knock off millions of Jews," Miss Taylor, 70, notes in her book.
"When it came up for auction in the late 1960s, I thought how nice it would be if a nice Jewish girl like me were to own it."
Miss Taylor converted to Judaism to marry her fourth husband, Eddie Fisher.
Simon Teakle, the head of Christie's jewelry department, said that getting Miss Taylor to include the Krupp Diamond in the exhibit was a tough challenge given her strong personal attachment to the stone.
"We had to be, how shall I put it, diplomatically firm that it was essential to the exhibition," Mr. Teakle said. "Eventually, we were able to prize it out of her hands for a few weeks."
Another highlight is the tear-shaped La Peregrina Pearl, originally discovered by a slave in the Gulf of Panama in the 1500s and given to Spain's Prince Philip II, who later offered it as a wedding present to Queen Mary Tudor of England.
Miss Taylor had the pearl another Burton gift incorporated into a Cartier-designed ruby and diamond necklace.
Her book, however, said the pearl was almost lost during a stay in Caesars Palace casino in Las Vegas, when Miss Taylor realized she had dropped it somewhere in the deep shag pile carpet of the full-floor suite she was sharing with Mr. Burton.
Terrified of telling the volatile Welsh actor what had happened, Miss Taylor spent several hours nonchalantly strolling around the suite, feeling for the pearl with her toes.
"Then I saw one of our puppies chewing on what I thought was a bone and I did the longest slowest, slowest double-take in the world," she recalled.
"I just casually opened the puppy's mouth, and inside was the most perfect pearl in the world. It was, thank God, not even scratched."
Mr. Burton's generosity, it seems, was boundless and not limited to special birthday or Christmas gifts.
"He'd give me 'It's Tuesday, I love you' presents. 'It's a beautiful day' presents. 'Let's go for a walk, I want to buy you something' presents," Miss Taylor reveals in the book, which itself hardly comes cheap at $65.
Yet another Burton purchase on view is the 17th-century heart-shaped Taj Mahal Diamond originally a gift from the Mughal emperor Shah Jehan to his beloved second wife in whose memory the Taj Mahal was built.
The only piece of jewelry bought by Miss Taylor herself is a diamond brooch in the design of the Prince of Wales insignia that the actress purchased during an auction of jewelry belonging to the late Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson.

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