Monday, 24 November 2014

Gemstones of Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011) was married eight times to seven husbands. When asked why she married so often, she replied, "I don't know, honey. It sure beats the hell out of me," but then added, "I was taught by my parents that if you fall in love, if you want to have a love affair, you get married. I guess I'm very old-fashioned."

The Elizabeth Taylor Jewelry Collection set a new world record (by a very large margin) for the most valuable private collection of jewels sold at auction, bringing $115,932,000 in 2011.
La Peregrina is one of the most famous pearls in the world. Its history spans almost 500 years. Richard Burton purchased the pearl at the Sotheby's auction for $37,000. He gave it to his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, as a Valentine's Day gift during their first marriage. The pearl sold for a record price of more than $11 million.
The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond is a 33.19-carat Asscher-cut D color potentially flawless diamond set on a ring that Taylor wore nearly everyday.

It sold for $8.8 million, well above its $2.5 million to $3.5 million estimate.
The BVLGARI Emerald Suite, a suite of emerald and diamond jewelry brought a total of $24,799,000. It was acquired between 1962 and 1967.
The BVLGARI Sapphire Sautoir, set with a sugarloaf cabochon sapphire of 52.72 carats sold for $5,906,500.

This bold Art Deco style sautoir was a gift from Richard Burton for Elizabeth Taylor’s 40th birthday in 1972.
The Taj Mahal Diamond, on a gold and ruby chain, by Cartier realized $8,818,500, setting a world auction record for an Indian jewel.

Inscribed with the name Nur Jahan, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahangir, this heart-shaped diamond is believed to have been a gift from the ruler to his son, who became the great emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666).
The Cartier Ruby Suite, a suite of ruby and diamond jewelry realized a total of $5,403,500.

Comprising a necklace, bracelet and earrings, Elizabeth Taylor’s husband, the film producer Mike Todd, presented her with a trio of Cartier boxes containing this magnificent suite of ruby jewels while she was swimming laps in the pool at their villa in St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, in August 1957.
The Richard Burton Ruby and Diamond Ring, of 8.24 carats, by Van Cleef & Arpels, was a gift from Richard Burton, Christmas 1968. He had promised to buy Elizabeth Taylor a special ruby, with perfect red color, “But it has to be perfect”, he warned.

Four years after making his promise, he tucked a small box into the bottom of Elizabeth’s Christmas stocking – so small that she missed it when opening her gifts. This ring achieved $4,226,500 setting a record for a ruby per carat ($512,925).
The Night of the Iguana Brooch, by Tiffany & Co. sold for $1,202,500. More catfish in form than iguana, Richard Burton gave the brooch to Elizabeth Taylor to wear to the star-studded premiere of his film The Night of the Iguana, in 1964.



Sunday, 23 November 2014

Gold of the Royal Cemetery of Ur

Ur was an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia, located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in southern Iraq. Although Ur was once a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Gulf, the coastline has shifted and the city is now inland, south of the Euphrates, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Nasiriyah.

The city dates from circa 3800 BC. According to one estimate, Ur was the largest city in the world from c.2030 to 1980 BC. Research indicates that the area was struck by severe drought conditions from 2200 to 2000 BC.
Close to temple buildings at the centre of the city of Ur, a rubbish dump built up over centuries. Unable to use the area for building, the people of Ur started to bury their dead there. The cemetery was used between about 2600-2000 BC and hundreds of burials were made in pits. Many of these contained very rich materials.

British archaeologist Leonard Woolley discovered the tomb of Puabi, which was excavated by his team along with some 1800 other graves at the "Royal Cemetery of Ur" between 1922 and 1934.

Puabi's tomb was unique among the other excavations; not only because of the large amount of high quality and well-preserved grave goods, but also because her tomb had been untouched by looters through the millennia.

Along a wall, three lyres and a harp deteriorated by time stood still in silence. Woolley described the scenery as if “the last player had her arm over her harp, certainly she played to the end”.