Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Legendary Jewels of Elizabeth Taylor - the auction results

The Legendary Jewels of Elizabeth Taylor – the sale the world was waiting for, took place this past week. Whilst almost 1000 lots were reserved for the online sale, the 49 largest pieces – those either mentioned or worn in photos by the icon – occurred in an evening sale on 13 November to a packed auction room at Christies. The results were staggering with 100% clearance, new world auction records and a total sales figure of $115.9 million - making it the most valuable private collection of jewels ever sold at auction.

Records broken were:

The price per carat for a colourless diamond – the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond (formerly the Krupp Diamond), the rectangular-cut, 33.19-carat stone that Richard Burton bought for Elizabeth in 1968, sold for $8.18 million to a Korean business buyer, well exceeding the pre-sale estimate of $3.5 million. The world record now stands at $265,697 per carat.

The price per carat for a ruby - the Van Cleef & Arpels 8.24ct ruby and diamond ring Burton gave to Elizabeth for Christmas 1968 sold for $4,226,500, four times the estimate.

The price for natural pearl ear pendants – made by Bvlgari, pearl studs suspend a detachable drop shaped natural pearl with a marquise diamond linking the stud and drops. The earrings were a gift from Taylor/Burton’s attorney and friend, Aaron Frosch. They sold for $1,986,500 four times their pre sale estimate.

The price for a pearl jewel and the price for a historic jewel – ‘La Peregina’ brought the top price in the sale. Found in the 16th century in the Gulf of Panama by a slave (who earned his freedom with the find), the 203 grains/50 carat pearl became part of the crown jewels of Spain before being given to Phillip II’s of Spain’s English bride, Queen Mary I. It returned to Spain in the crown jewels before it was taken along with other jewels by Joseph Bonaparte as he fled Spain. It then went back to England to the Duke of Abercorn’s wife, Louisa Hamilton. Richard Burton purchased it in January 1969 and gave it to Elizabeth for Valentine’s Day. Before it was set into its present ruby and diamond necklace by Cartier, the pearl went missing in a hotel suite – being found in the mouth of one of Elizabeth’s dogs –where it thankfully came to no harm. La Peregrina sold to a private buyer whose $11,842,500 payment broke the previous record for a historic pearl by over $9 million and a pearl jewel by $4 million.

The price for an Indian jewel – The Taj Mahal diamond, found in the 17th century has a persian nscription – the name of the Shah Jahangir’s wife (Nur Jahan), the year of his reigtn.. It then when to the Shah’s son, Mugal Emperor Shah Jahan who presented the gem to Mumtaz-I-Mahal, his beloved wife. After bearing him 14 children she died in 1631 and the emperor was grief stricken. In her memory he built the tomb the Taj Mahal. Cartier set the diamond on a neckchain in 1972 that was made to resemble the silk cord it is thought to have originally had. Burton bought it for Taylor for her 40th birthday in 1972. With a pre-sale estimate of $300,000-$500,000, it sold to an anonymous buyer for $8.8 million. The previous world record for an Indian jewel was $5.2 million.

The price for an emerald jewel and price of an emerald by carat – given to Taylor by Burton on the occasion of their engagement in 1962, the 18.26-carat emerald and diamond pendant brooch by Bulgari sold for $6.6 million, or $360,268 per carat, after a pre-sale high estimate of $700,000.

Eighteen more lots went for over $1,000,000 each:

Emerald and diamond necklace by Bvlgari, a gift from Burton to Taylor on their marriage in 1964 - $6,130,500

Sapphire and diamond sautoir by Bvlgari, a gift from Burton to Taylor on her 40th birthday in 1972 - $5,906,500

Antique “Mike Todd” Diamond Tiara, a gift from Mike Todd to Elizabeth in 1957 - $4,226,500

Bvlgari emerald and diamond bracelet, a gift from Burton to Taylor for her 35th birthday in 1967 - $4,002,500

Ruby and diamond necklace by Cartier, a gift from Mike Todd in 1957 - $3,778,500

Bvlgari Emerald and diamond ring, a gift from Burton - $3,330,500

Emerald and diamond ear pendants by Bvlgari - $3,218,500

Antique diamond necklace, made c.1806 it was purchased by Elizabeth in 1993 - $2,658,500

The Burton Cognac Diamond Ring by Van Cleef & Arpels, the 32.14 carat ring was a gift from Richard Burton - $2,322,500

Coloured diamond ring by Lorraine Schwartz, an intense 27.42ct yellow diamond - $2,098,500

Coloured and white diamond ear pendants by Bvlgari a gift from Eddie Fisher for Elizabeth’s 30th birthday in 1962 - $1,650,500

Bvlgari emerald and diamond flower brooch c. 1960 - $1,538,500

“The Dame Ear Pendants” with coral and multi gems by Van Cleef & Arpels, designed by Elizabeth and worn on the occasion of her investiture as a Dame Commander of the British OEmpire in 2000 - $1,426,500

Antique sapphire and diamond brooch, a gift from Richard Burton - $1,314,500

Prince of Wales diamond brooch, formerly part of the jewels of the Duchess of Windsor, it was purchased by Elizabeth in 1987 - $1,314,500

“The Night of the Iguana” diamond, sapphire and emerald dolphin brooch by Tiffany & Co, given by Burton to Taylor for the premiere of the film The Night of the Iguana in 1964 $1,202,500

“The Burton Diamond Brooch” by Van Cleef & Arpels, a Christmas gift from Richard Burton in 1967 - $1,142,500

Bvlgari coloured and white diamond flower brooch, a gift from Eddie Fisher for Elizabeth’s 30th birthday in 1962 - $1,142,500

The lowest amount realised on the evening was $116,500 for a gold and multi gemstone charm bracelet.

But the buying frenzy didn’t stop there! By the time two more rounds of jewelry had been sold, a record for any jewelry auction had been set: $132 million.

The second evening’s sale on 14 December for 189 lots realised $21.3 million with prices from $6875 for a suite of paper jewellery to $1,482,500 for a diamond pendant necklace.

The third sale also on 14 December was mainly Elizabeth’s haute couture with 67 lots totalling $2,600,750, with a range from $1,375 (a Saks beaded evening top) to $662,500 (Andy Warhol portrait of Taylor).

The fourth sale for fashion and accessories on 15 December had 325 lots from $563 (Emikio Puccio 2 piece ensemble) to $110,500 (Louis Vuitton luggage) and realised $2,941,162.

The fifth sale held on 16 December was for fine and decorative art and film memorabilia including costumes realised prices of $1,188 (an arts and crafts clock) to $386,500 ( large gray scholar’s rock) over 144 lots, with a sale total of $4,441,187.

And finally the online only auction of over 900 smaller items finished with a total sale value of $9,537,900!

It just goes to show that the impossible to price element of stardust was not considered in the original estimates, which were obviously completely blown out of the water by the keen bidding.

The jewels are now to be scattered across the world, Elizabeth’s job as custodian of some of the world’s most stupendous baubles now at an end.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A busy November...

OK, how did it get so busy all of a sudden. There I was, in post-holiday glow, enjoying slowly getting back in to things and then BAM all of a sudden I have so much on, bespoke orders and pieces to rejuvinate into something else and am surrounded by gems, pearls and all things gorgeous. (Of course, I cope admirably with being surrounded by all the pretties!)

I haven't forgotten about the Italian diaries - I just haven't had time to refine them, but I'll get there eventually :)

The show at Muswellbrook was great fun. It was a manageable drive over there (even if we got home after midnight) there were many other stall holders with different items and the organisers were lovely. A few ladies were thrilled with some new jewels for summer and I think I will be warmly welcomed back in that district.

The "Balabudgee" garden weekend was extraordinary - sublime weather, a garden that all at once made me feel inspired and depressed (inspired because it looks achievable... and depressed because I just know that I won't do it!!), and such genial hosts. It was busy with people both days and lots of lovely ladies got to take home quite a bit of new jewellery with them!

I had planned to attend TAS last weekend (The Armidale School's Spring Fair) but unfortunately one of my girls came down with high temps and a headache the evening before and it just wasn't possible to leave her with someone else the next day when she felt like that. Hubby was off at the NSW Aerobatic Championships in Temora so couldn't be on dad duty. But that's what happens I guess. On a high note, hearty congratulations to my hubby who is now the NSW Aerobatic Champion! Woohoo :D

I have a busy show schedule for November - the Dunedoo Central School is holding its ladies shopping night on Friday, 11 November from 5-8pm. Enquiries to the school. The Tamworth Christmas Fair is on Saturday, 19th November at Tamworth Racecourse from 9.30am-4pm and then I have my annual summer show in Coolah on the 25th November.

The last couple of years I have held my show at the local dance studio, but have been offered to hold it the air-conditioned comfort of Noni B's Giftware this year - given the heat we've experienced in past years, I'm looking forward to a comfortable temperature this year! I will have a special preview the day before (24th November) for clients and will be sending invitations out to people in the Coolah area - if you're outside the district and would like to come, do let me know and I will pop off an invite to you!

I am trying to get to the website this week to update with some new stock - a few technical things are holding me back that will hopefully be resolved soon!

Today's photo is of a stunning pair of amethyst and mixed gemstone (blue topaz, pink topaz and peridot) earrings.

Till next :)

Friday, 21 October 2011

Italian Inspiration

I've been busy, busy, busy creating - particularly bracelets, petite pendants and lovely high quality gem earrings.

Italy certainly has had a wonderful effect on my inspiration. I made a video (its actually a slideshow to music) that shows some of the photos from our trip and a few of the pieces that have been inspired by the colours and textures we saw...

I promise to continue with the tale of our Italian adventure soon.

In the meantime, I have two shows this weekend - Muswellbrook tonight (at the PCYC 7-10pm for the Muswellbrook Preschool A Night Before Christmas Shopping Night) and then the weekend in the courtyard of the beautiful Balabudgee garden, Frog Rock, near Mudgee.

Till next :)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Elizabeth Taylor - The Auction

Fantastic video by Christies on the upcoming auction (December) of Elizabeth Taylor's jewels, art and memorabilia.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Italy part 1 - Rome

Ahh, Italy. It was a fabulous trip. I’d go back tomorrow if I could!

We arrived in Rome at around 7am to a cloudless sky and the promise of a hot day. As we had left a wintry Australia this was a welcome change… so far! An easy trip by train to Termini station and we even found our hotel with not too much fuss (though we were extraordinarily early!).

After a refreshing introduction to gelati, we decided to walk and see where we ended up. And that would be LOST. But all roads lead to Rome, and sure enough we eventually ended up at the Roman Forum, the centre of the civilised world 2000 years ago.

I must note here that in the first hour we were almost run over numerous times. We discovered later that you must OWN the road (or at least look like it) and then the cars will wait for you. But if you look rather startled and worried as we did, then I’m sure they aim for you instead!

The Roman Forum was fascinating, as was the Roman Soldier we met on the street outside (plus he was funny) and the day stayed clear and got hotter.

The choice by hubby and I to stay in jeans and sneakers for the day was proving very unwise, as I gazed longingly at other tourists in light summer dresses and sandals!

As with many of the ruins, they are low down – as in below the streets around so the air is even more stifling. Plus we discovered that ruins all over Italy rarely have trees dotting them for shade as I gather the roots would disturb the ruins more. So, after the lack of sleep, dehydration from the long flight and the change from 10 to 38 degrees, I basically went into a form of heat stress and said “enough”, which the children were immensely grateful for.

We escaped the crowds and sought out a cafĂ© discovering granita – the Italian version of a slushie or snow cone – and in particular the menthe flavour which was so refreshing I felt able to keep walking back to the hotel.

However, our map was a free one and didn’t have most of the streets on it. Hubby’s normally excellent sense of direction was all upside down being in the northern hemisphere, so we got lost. Again.

But, on the positive side, we got to see parts of Rome that many tourists probably don’t. Like the entrance to the Juvenile Prison.

We eventually trudged back to Termini, found our hotel, had cold showers (the only kind in our hotel) and lay on our beds in a daze for the remainder of the afternoon.

A 5am start the next morning and feeling energised after a good night’s sleep, I opened the windows and shutters of our room and let the magnificent scent of fresh pastries waft into the room. Our room was on the third floor, over a narrow street of shops and restaurants that had apartments above them.

This day we went in a different direction, enjoying the cool, narrow streets and their shade as we sought out the Trevi Fountain. Unfortunately the fountain was being cleaned and wasn’t on, but the children threw a coin in anyway … perhaps they’ll return to Rome one day, as I did (having thrown a coin in when I was 12).

The Pantheon was our next stop and my first visit. It is an immense building that was originally a temple to all the gods and supposedly built to plans drawn up by Emperor Hadrian.

It is as high as it is wide, with an oculus that provides the only light inside. The fact that the old building is in such good condition (unlike most of the ruins which are, well, ruins and stripped of their grandeur by earlier generations for building materials) is due to the building being thought of as inhabited by devils by early Christians and converted into a church, which it still is today.

Piazza Navona was just a laneway or two away. This used to be a 1st century stadium of Emperor Domitian and it still retains the shape of the track once used for chariot races. Full of wonderful baroque fountains and features.

We kept walking, although the heat was rapidly turning the walking into trudging again, and eventually arrived at the Colosseum. Thank goodness we had purchased a combined ticket at the Roman Forum as the line waiting to buy tickets was huge. In the intervening 30+ years since my last visit, quite a bit of work has been done on the Colosseum. A museum has been installed on one side, part of the floor has been reconstructed showing how it would have looked above the labyrinth of passages that lay below it used by the actors, gladiators, animals and so on.

On our descent from the top of the Colosseum, I managed to fall down a couple of the steep stone stairs which proved rather embarrassing and resulted in a slightly strained ankle and bruised tailbone. OUCH!

Having learned from our errors the day before, we headed off in the correct direction this time and made it back to the hotel for a late siesta. A couple of us nipped out for a spot of shoe shopping (!!) and we all managed to be awake for dinner at a little restaurant downstairs where hubby seemed to already have a relationship with the waiters who spoke a little English, due in no doubt for his extraordinary need for coffee.

I noted hubby's Italian vocabulary had also expanded from cappuccino, gelati, ferrari and ducati to include caffe Americano (long black coffee), birra grande(large beer), si (yes) and grazie (thankyou). (Mind you it didn’t expand expotentially on the time we were there. I think by the end of 3 weeks he had only also mastered scusi (excuse me), uno (one), due (two – as that’s how he ordered coffee , two at a time as they were small), cinque (five … since that how many there were of us), il conto (the bill), buona sera (good afternoon) and aqua naturale (non fizzy water)! His pronounciation however remained appalling.)

Before leaving Rome I attempted some shopping inspired by the fantastically presented Italian women that were everywhere. Unfortunately my bust size as well as my overall size 14 (Australian size) body was too grande (big) for the Italian fashions. Disappointing but true – they are quite petite as a ule and their bust size is substantially smaller in general. However, my feet fell well within their average sizes …

Have you been to Rome? What was your favourite thing about it? If you haven't been yet, what would be top of your "to do/see" list?

Next stop …. Pompeii (once we made it out of Rome in a car of course!)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Jewels at the Emmy's 2011

Sophia Vergara and rather large earrings made with Columbian emeralds and diamonds

The Emmy’s have been and gone and we’ve had our sparkle dose for the week. The stars came out in jewel shades, red and of course the safe option, black. Bright blues and aquas which were showcased as colours to wear next spring showed up on some , along with gem-shades of amethyst and emerald.

The ruby girls - Kellie Osborne and Lea Michelle.

Most stars stuck to the safe (but a little boring!) with diamonds - as usual. A few lashed out with rubies and sapphires and some semi precious stones were given an airing in more unusual earrings and sometimes rings.

I quite like these big druzy earrings worn by Aimme Teegarden!

Anna Torv and her semi precious (probably phosphosiderite and/or treated agate) earrings.

Earrings varied from studs to statement drops, chandeliers and slim, linear styles. Necklaces were occasional, these stars (or their fashion advisors) need to get over the bare neck look and be a little more daring than a chunky cuff of which there were a number seen.

One of the rare necklaces seen on the night.

Heidi Klum and her chunky mixed stone earrings and ring.

Most of it was all a bit *ho-hum* really. I always look forward to a glittering night but this time I’m left feeling rather underwhelmed.

Elizabeth Moss and Jane Lynch on the chandelier style bandwagon.

I promise to write more about our adventures in Italy - once I get over the jetlag and organise the photos a little more!

Till next :)

Saturday, 3 September 2011

A note from Italy ...

A quick post, all the way from Italia! (At least I currently have a good reason not to blog regularly!)

I’ve been here about 10 days now and having a fabulous time – the first week was hectic with lots of sightseeing, walking, getting lost and coping with the heat after leaving a chilly Australia!

We've spent some time in Roma, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast (pic above), Paestum, across the country to Matera and Alberobello and up the Adriatic coast.

We’re currently settled into our accommodation at the Residenza Paradiso at Santa Maria in Valle near Trevi in Umbria, a working olive farm, and being looked after by the genial Emiliana and Alfredo.

Our house, the Casa del Contadino, is a restored 17th century farmhouse that just oozes history and charm. The views are magnificient over the surrounding Umbrian countryside and the picturesque town of Trevi. The stone houses, narrow streets and melodic Italian language just washes over you in delightful waves!

I’m constantly inspired by the stylish Italian women. I know we hear of French women being the epitome of style but the Italians must give them a good run for their money. I love their fashion sense and colours. I met a lovely Australian woman who is living in nearby Spello – she was looking very Italian (completely chic), but with the wonderful Australian accent – and it is a great mix!

All the hisory, varying landscapes, the cool lanes and the hot sun have got the creativity flying and have some great ideas brewing for new designs when I get back home and start playing with my gems and pearls!

But, the trip isn’t over yet – another week here in Umbria and then a few days around the northern parts of the country including Venice and Milan.

Till next :)


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