|This brooch takes up the better part of a hand!|
Last fall on eBay I was able to purchase a sealed package of the paper jewelry offered by Christie’s, in connection with the Elizabeth Taylor jewelry auction back in December 2011. I believe the reproductions of the jewels they included are life-size so it’s fun to get a sense of just how big they are and to see the intensity of the colors. In this post I want to highlight one of the pieces from Liz’s collection that I just love, her “The Night of the Iguana Brooch” by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., of diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds set in 18k gold and platinum, circa 1962 (or 1964, depending on whether you trust Liz’s book or Christie’s more).
No one can say it better than Liz herself, so this quote is directly from her tome Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry, which she co-wrote with the wonderful Ruth Peltason:
“Richard gave me this pin to wear for the opening of The Night of the Iguana, which forever symbolized the early days of our marriage when we lived in Puerto Vallarta, while Richard was working on the Tennessee Williams film. To me, this is one of the most extravagant pieces that Schlumberger ever designed. The timing was fortuitous.”
|Liz wearing the brooch. Getty Images Photo.|
|Jean Schlumberger. Photo courtesy of Tiffany & Co.|
I found this quote too, also straight from Liz, and originally from the book Brooches: Timeless Adornment, that the author Lori Ettlinger Gross shared in a blog post at the news of Liz’s death in 2011:
“Richard (Burton) had just finished shooting Night of the Iguana in Mexico, and we took a trip to New York to let our tans fade. We happened to go to Tiffany & Co. to cruise around and we went to the top floor where they kept Mr. Schlumberger’s staggering collection. They brought out a gold and diamond brooch and we looked at each other. I said, ‘It’s the iguana.’ Well, it was just too much of a coincidence - one that Richard could not resist.”
The brooch is both stunning and huge! It is approximately 4 1/2 inches long. I bet it’s heavy too. Even though Burton nicknamed it the Iguana, Schlumberger actually designed it to be a dolphin. On an estimate of $200,000-300,000, the price realized at the auction in December 2011 was $1,202,500. Wowza! I hope whoever shelled out that much cash for it WEARS IT and doesn’t let it sit in a vault.
|The brooch as shown in the paper jewelry set. You know I could not leave it there...|
|Couldn’t resist putting the brooch cut-out under Liz’s own words!|
Let me know what you think of this brooch, or any piece from Liz’s collection!