|The original Ping-Pong rings owned by Liz. Photo by Axel Koester/Corbis.|
I had been keeping my eyes out for a fun cocktail ring to wear and found one (well, three) in the most unlikely of places—QVC! I have never ordered from them before but when I learned that they have an Elizabeth Taylor Jewelry Collection I had to check it out. My favorite piece was easily the Ping-Pong rings! They are copies of the three rings Richard Burton bought for Liz after she beat him at ping-pong while spending time at their place in Gstaad. Let’s hear the story straight from Liz and her book Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry:
“From time to time Richard and I would get into a wicked game of Ping-Pong at our home in Gstaad. I know that on more occasions than one, being the actor he was, he would fake letting me win. But in all fairness, I was good at Ping-Pong, so some of my wins were legit. On this particular occasion, he said to me, ‘If you can get 10 points off me, I’ll give you a perfect diamond.’ Well, that’s not the sort of thing a woman walks away from. So I not only got those 10 points, I also beat him. He lost. I won. Time to go shopping!
“Gstaad had all the necessary creature comforts, in my case a nice little jewelry shop just down the hill from us in the village. So we took a little stroll. Richard was determined to find the smallest diamond ring in Gstaad and he did. It was something like one-eighth of a carat.”
|A side shot shows the details of the settings and the bands.|
She goes onto say:
“This was around the time that Richard had bought me the huge 69-carat diamond ring, which I was intending to wear for the first time at Princess Grace’s fortieth-birthday party in Monte Carlo. Richard and I had a private joke between us that when someone’s mouth would drop and they’d say, ‘Oh my God, what a magnificent diamond!’ I would raise my right hand and wiggle my little finger which was wearing the Ping-Pong diamond and say, ‘Isn’t it beautiful! The setting is lovely and the diamond is absolutely perfect.’ Then we would break into a giggle.”
Here is Liz wearing both diamonds (the 69-carat Taylor-Burton diamond) as a pendant, plus the Krupp diamond (33.19-carats) that night in Monte-Carlo:
|Liz and her diamonds, November 1969. One of the Ping Pong rings is on her right hand!|
As for the QVC Ping-Pong rings, I guess I’m late to the party (not surprising) since QVC only has size 6 available now but that’s my size anyway so I ordered them and they are a perfect fit and so sparkly and fun! I wear them as a stack, but you could easily wear them individually. They are similar to the originals, only each stone is bigger (2.90 ctw for the set), and one stone is an oval set east-to-west, and one of them is square-cut on a split shank, while Liz’s rings were all round diamonds set in white gold, though one of them did have a split shank, just like the copies. Liz’s rings sold on the first night of the Christie’s auction of her collection and the final hammer price was $134,500 (on an estimate of $5,000-7,000).
|These are so fun to wear.|
Let me know if you have ordered from the Elizabeth Taylor Jewelry Collection at QVC!