Thursday, November 19, 2015

Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime

See this if you can!

When putting words into an Amazon search engine to see if I could find one of the six Elizabeth Taylor Christie’s auction catalogs for less than $100 each (apparently impossible), I discovered a DVD released in 2013 called Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime. I bought a copy on eBay after reading a review by an Amazon customer saying it was worth seeing more than once. That customer was right! The DVD, about 72 minutes long, is narrated by the actress Miranda Richardson and combines footage from the auction, when they were selling Taylor’s most important jewels, with film clips, interview reels, and commentary about Liz and her collection from people like Joan Collins, Liza Minnelli, Gianni Bulgari, and Ruth Peltason, editor of Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry, among others.

Liz looking radiant in her Cartier ruby and diamond necklace and earrings, gifts from Mike Todd.

It is such an entertaining DVD to watch and partially makes up for the fact that I did not get myself over to Christie’s to see the auction preview of Liz’s jewelry babies back in 2011 (I have been kicking myself lately over not going, but in my own defense I heard the lines were very long and it was quite a wait to get in and the movie confirms that). You definitely get a sense of the excitement in the air during the auction when items like La Peregrina pearl necklace, the Cartier ruby and diamond necklace from Mike Todd (above), and the Bulgari emerald and diamond necklace (on the DVD cover) went on the block. It is fun to watch the auctioneers acknowledge the bids and work the room as the prices go up, up, and up!

One of the nights of the auction, December 2011.

The Bulgari yellow and white diamond earrings given to her by Eddie Fisher sell for $1.4 million!

Love this photo of Burton and a hairstylist both fussing over Taylor.

It was interesting to learn that perhaps Richard Burton could not really afford the pieces he was buying Liz; it is suggested perhaps he was credited with buying some of the jewelry but Liz was actually footing the bill.

In the emerald and diamond necklace and ear pendants.

It is great fun to hear Ward Landgrian, formerly of Sotheby’s, telling tales of bringing Liz some of the jewels she and Burton won at auction straight to them, wherever they were around the world. For instance, in the three screengrab photos below, Liz is in Wales with Burton and the Krupp diamond, which they had just won at auction. Because she wanted it right away, Ward (in the pinstriped suit) traveled with it and stayed with it as a diamond bodyguard, since there was no insurance yet on the ring! It’s hilarious watching Liz walk the streets of Wales with a pack of reporters behind her, carrying a champagne glass and flashing her huge new rock!

My kind of gal: Huge diamond ring on one hand, a glass of champagne (just visible at the bottom) in the other!

Showing off the diamond to reporters.

Ward (on the left), traveled with the diamond to Wales because there was no insurance yet covering it!

I also loved the story of how a friend of Taylor and Burton’s once visited Liz, saw her wearing the Krupp diamond (above), couldn’t get over how filthy it was (since she never took it off), and cleaned it for her on the spot using vodka, hot water, and a toothbrush!

If you are looking for a pick-me-up over the upcoming holidays, a chance to have your eyes dazzled by gorgeous gems, and a look at Liz and her life over the span of her career, I highly recommend a viewing of Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime. You can get it from Amazon or eBay. There are many copies available. If you have seen this documentary before, let me know what you thought of it!

Liz (with Eddie Fisher) the night she won an Oscar for BUtterfield 8, 1961. Gorgeous diamond and pearl earrings!


Linda said...

I would love to see this DVD, I can't imagine her life surrounded by such gorgeous jewels. Thanks for the review of this documentary, Jill. Another great post!!
xx (miss you)

une femme said...

I loved her unapologetic love of MAJOR jewelry. This looks like lots of fun.

Jill said...

Hi Mom, I think you'd like this DVD, it's a good one, with so (so) many pretty things to look at! I miss you too, I wish you'd been with me last night when I saw the BG and Tiffany windows! xx

Jill said...

Hi Deja! I think this DVD is pretty much required viewing for you since I know how much you liked Liz too! I hope you get a chance to watch it, you will not be disappointed! xx

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I have watched this twice and loved it. I enjoyed the story behind the jewels. Such an amazing journey that Liz Taylor lived.

Jill said...

Hiya Hostess! I am going to be re-watching this, some of the stories really crack me up, like when Valentino describes watching Taylor and Burton having a fight one evening at dinner. Hilarious stuff. She did live quite the life! xx