Elizabeth Taylor’s Sapphire Earrings Return to Auction

Elizabeth Taylor Auction December 2011

I remember the day I went to see the Elizabeth Taylor Collection at Christie’s in New York. I made plans to see the collection on Friday December 9th. I waited in line as the auction house had the sidewalk lined up with people waiting in the cold to see this famous collection and remember the woman who was their guardian. I had to make plans over a month in advance. I usually wait to buy a ticket to NYC the night before I decide to leave, however this was an auction I have never experienced before and probably never will again.

It was unique for several reasons one being the history behind each piece, the second the amount of fine jewelry owned by one person and finally the fact I had to pay to attend an auction preview! Yes for those that did not see the Elizabeth Taylor Collection, you had to pay $30 plus tax AND…pick a time to reserve for your spot to see this collection. I have a piece of the email confirming my ticket below.

email

I signed up for a Christie’s account at the end of October so that on November 5 of 2011 I could be the 3rd transaction of thousands that would see this jewelry. Parts of the collection traveled around the US until it reached its final place which was Christie’s at Rockefeller Plaza.

It was an exciting day, as I mentioned above people were waiting in line for a turn to look at these amazing jewels. I had never seen so many fur coats in one place. The crowd was older but they were still awestruck at the wealth, beauty and lifestyle that was Elizabeth Taylor!

The Christie’s windows were dedicated to Elizabeth and her jewels. A shot below.

elizabeth_outside_christies

The First-Time I saw the Earrings

My time was called and I entered to find the jewels surround by glass with photos and stories of their role in Taylor’s life at every turn. The surround by glass is no surprise for an auction preview but there was no Christie’s assistant at any displays to let anyone try the gems on. The assistants were only at registers or walking to make sure everyone was where they should be. That was my only complaint for that day. Everything else was perfect the jewels were at times a bit gaudy for my taste were well crafted with the finest materials.

One item I truly loved were a pair of Sapphire Van Cleef and Arpel earrings. They have a mystery setting and were made in the 1980’s. They had that almost too over the top look, but the color was too beautiful not to go back a few more times to admire. I was also hoping maybe someone from Christie’s would walk by and let me get a closer look. I can still picture them suspended in the case. They were estimated to sell for $150,000-$200,000 and sold for $338,500!

sapphire_earrings

Now, imagine my delight when I looked last month at the upcoming Christie’s auction and saw that these earrings were back on the auction block! The estimate now is $220,000-$300,000. I believe they will make that estimate if not exceed it. This is an item to watch but on Saturday when Christie’s had its preview I went with a goal to try them on.

Elizabeth-Taylor-Sapphire-Earrings

The set up was a little different from the past the earrings were in a salon like setting and placed in a window. I had another fabulous blogger with me Jill from Everything Just So join me to see if we could try on the famed earrings. With luck the crowd had died down and we did get a chance to wear the earrings. They looked over the top at first but on they are light weight with a subtle sparkle from the sapphires.

There is an inspired version selling on QVC to benefit the Elizabeth Taylor Trust. The link is here if you are interested.

qvc-elizabeth-taylor-inspired-earrings

They are also featured in My Love Affair with Jewelry by Elizabeth Taylor

qvc-inspiration-elizabeth-taylor-photo

Getting a Second Chance

I was fortunate enough to make my bus on time to get to New York and to Christie’s where I was greeted by Jill from Everything Just So and her daughter. I saw the earrings displayed like a shop window display and proceeded to enter and ask if we could try on the earrings. Handling jewelry this expensive can be daunting but I had seen the earrings so much and wanted to wear them so badly that having the chance was a relief and so fun! See below!

Elizabeth-Taylor-Sapphire-Earrings

 

The drops are removable but I was not going to push my luck on seeing them like that, besides the mystery setting sapphire drops are part of the glamour. My favorite color is blue if you couldn’t tell from my blue top. I can’t describe enough how amazing these earrings are and how great I felt wearing them for the brief time I had.

Wearing-elizabeth-taylor-sapphire-earrings

I also felt like trying the jewelry on was part of the joy Elizabeth got from her jewels. The stories I heard from online accounts, QVC and personal acquaintances was she was generous in letting others try on her jewelry. I finally had to take them off so that they could be put up and the assistant could help another person looking to try on a piece. The memory will stay with me forever and maybe I’ll get a chance to see them again!  Come back for more stories about jewelry as I focus this month on Elizabeth Taylor the movie star, business woman and jewelry collector extraordinaire! Thank you for reading if you have a story or comment or have tried on some of Ms. Taylor’s jewelry I would love to hear about it!

4 Auctions, 2 Days: My Journey to see a Duchess, a Southern Belle, a Clown and a Woman whose Style is Her Signature

It’s no secret by now when I say that I love jewelry! One aspect of jewelry I really love is the history and craftsmanship that even the smallest piece can have. These qualities can be found in modern jewelry or vintage jewelry. Going into a store and appreciating the work and design is a pastime of mine. Unfortunately, a little guilt can come when going in too often and not buying. A great alternative for me is attending auction previews.  I’ve been to several in New York and Boston over the years. This December was no exception.  The auction houses that I attend were having their previews around the same time so I made a day trip to see three auction houses in New York City and one in Boston over the first weekend in December. Yes I went to 4 auction previews in 2 days! Each had a some amazing must see pieces that I’ll share below, as well as some history with them.

Day 1:

Sotheby’s Auction House (New York City)

I started my day at Sotheby’s Auction House. This was the first auction house I had been to when I first came to NYC. I bought a bus ticket to see Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor’s jewelry displayed and up for auction. So when I heard Sotheby’s was selling another set of her jewelry I knew this was a must see.  The set below is more than jewelry owned by a celebrity, the designer Suzanne Belperron has an amazing story as well. Ms. Belperron was a jewelry designer in the early 20th century. A rare profession for a woman to hold and to be so successful her jewelry came with the highest in quality of design. Her designs were so strong and unique she did not sign most of her work. She claimed, “My style is my signature.” So finding identifiable work of hers is rare and in 1987 the Duchess of Windsor a buyer of Belperron’s jewelry could only identify 5 of 16 pieces as that of the artist. This set below is one of the pieces sold almost 30 years ago and up for auction again.

 

Windsor_Belperron

 

This jewelry above is made with chalcedony, sapphires, diamonds and white gold. The cuffs sold as a set for $526,000, in line with the $400,000-$600,000 estimate. The necklace estimated to sell between $350,000-$550,000 earned the sum of $430,000.  There were other items as well.

Below Left- a pair of topaz and diamond earring by JAR that sold for $358,000

Below Middle-a necklace designed by Van Cleef & Arpels owned by Queen Nazil of Egypt sold for about $4.3 million

Below Right- another auction preview for watches this gold and enamel watch from 1810 sold for $30,000

 

Sothebys_2

Christie’s Auction House (New York City)

Next stop was another famous auction house Christie’s. Below is jewelry owned by Carroll Petrie. Raised in South Carolina, Mrs. Petrie gained a passion for art and culture. She moved to New York City where she became a model and married a man that was in New York High Society. She gained many beautiful pieces of jewelry and was involved in  Philanthropy which put her in contact with celebrities such as Joan Rivers, President Reagan and wife Nancy, among others. Both necklaces below are designed by Jean Schlumberger. The first one sold far above the estimate of $200,000-$300,000 going for $905,000! The necklace below that had the same estimate and sold for $725,000! These pieces were amazing to see in person. The sparkle and vibrancy of the gems was breath taking!

Tiffany_2

 

Tiffany_1

20151205_142815

The gold headband above was also owned by Mrs. Petrie. This fun piece was estimated at $5,000-$7,000 and sold below the estimate for $4,375. Not as pricey as the ones above but a another piece to this woman’s fabulous life!

 

Bonham’s Auction House (New York City)

My final stop in NYC was at a smaller auction house, Bonham’s. The featured item for this auction was a gold clown with a black opal center, covered with diamonds, ruby an sapphires. It was a unique piece and not too big. This brooch made by Cartier in 1975 sold for $37,500.(below far left)

There were other incredible pieces to see. Next to the clown belown is a picture of a stunning Trianon designed cultured pearl, sapphire, diamond and shell brooch. I love shell jewelry and found this to be so beautiful! This was withdrawn from the auction. The photo next to the shell on the right, is a coral, emerald, pearl brooch by Tony Duquette. The bid was with drawn and did not sell. The final photo on the right is a bit blurry but in person was so full of fire and brilliance I had to add this 3.8 carat ruby ring surround by 3.3 carats of diamonds. Sadly this too did not sell. For this rings case the trend is large stone gems and 3.8 is not a large stone, but I would have gladly taken it! So 3 houses down one left for the next day as I journey back to Boston.

 

Bonhams

Day 2:

Skinner Auction House (Boston)

 

20151206_122718Even with being a little tired the next day I regained my energy to see another Suzanne Belperron piece. This diamond and platinum brooch is another example of Suzanne Belperron’s fine and unique work. This piece was made in 1940 and was estimated to sell between $20,000-$30,000. As seems the trend with my picks this did not sell. Hopefully sometime this work of art will find a good home. I did find other fun items for you to enjoy below!

I tried to get better details but the lighting was not as great as I hoped for but you can imagine the entrance this piece would make on someone! This 18kt white gold and diamond necklace by Stefan Hafner(below the two photos to the right), is beyond fantasy! Holding it was like holding a diamond net, the movement and fluidity of the piece was what made this piece so fun to see! It was estimated to sell for $25,000-$35,000 and earned the sum of $27,060!

 

 

Skinner

I have really taken an interest in these carved figures that invoke a time long before the modern world. This brooch to the left above is no exception! This small 14kt gold and multi-gemstone brooch of a fortune teller was only selling for an estimate $400-$600, and went for $492. A really amazing deal in my opinion!

So that was my journey to see all these pieces and more. I learned about history, design and appreciated the little details that can get lost when only looking for the expensive items. If you went to see these auctions let me know what else you liked and please subscribe to my email list for more updates! Thank you for reading my article!