Bulgari will showcase Elizabeth Taylor's gems in Oscar-week exhibit

Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:28am IST

A security guard walks past an image of Elizabeth Taylor during an auction of the late actress' jewelry, clothing, art and memorabilia in New York, December 13, 2011. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/Files

A security guard walks past an image of Elizabeth Taylor during an auction of the late actress' jewelry, clothing, art and memorabilia in New York, December 13, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri/Files

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REUTERS - Famed jeweler Bulgari said on Sunday it would put eight pieces of the late actress Elizabeth Taylor's jewels on display at its Beverly Hills boutique, more than a year after the Hollywood star's world-class collection fetched record prices at auction.

The exhibition of pieces from that sale will include jewels Taylor obtained and wore during well-documented times in her storied life, including the filming of "Cleopatra," which launched her romance with Richard Burton, Bulgari said.

Included are Taylor's first piece of Bulgari jewelry, an emerald-and-diamond brooch which achieved a record per-carat price for any emerald at the Christie's sale. The brooch sold for $6,578,500, setting a record price for an emerald jewel and emeralds per carat at $280,000.

An emerald and diamond necklace which sold at the Christie's auction for $6.1 million, and a diamond and gold sautoir set with six ancient Roman coins acquired for $5.9 million, will also be shown along with other diamonds, sapphires and more.

The jewels, widely reported to have been bought from the Taylor estate by Bulgari at the December 2011 auction of her collection at Christie's, will go on display this week in advance of next Sunday's Academy Awards, Bulgari said.

"There couldn't have been a more appropriate celebrity to have fallen in love with Bulgari," it said in announcing the display.

Noting Taylor's "grounded" nature in contrast to her impossibly glamorous life, it said Bulgari is known for creating jewels that pair precious stones with items of no intrinsic value such as antique coins, ceramics and silk cords.

Burton, whom Taylor married and divorced twice, once famously quipped that "The only Italian word Elizabeth knows is Bulgari." The Italian luxury house was founded in 1884 in Rome by Greek Sotirios Voulgaris, known in Italy as Sotirio Bulgari.

It was acquired in 2011 for 4.3 billion euros and other considerations by the French luxury house LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (LVMH.PA).

Taylor died in 2011 aged 79 of congestive heart failure. The Christie's auction of her gems took in a record $116 million.

(Editing by Chris Michaud and Todd Eastham)

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