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      The Taylor Burton Diamond

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The Taylor Burton Diamond

One of the most famous diamonds in the world is associated with one of the most notorious love affairs of the 20th Century. When Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor fell madly in love during the filming of "Cleopatra" in the 1960's, they created a media frenzy that was the first global scandal in history.

The Taylor Burton Diamond

Richard gave Elizabeth some exquisite jewels during their time together. The first was the 33.19-carat emerald cut Krupp diamond that was set in a ring. Then came the magnificent La Peregrina pearl followed by a heart shaped diamond set with rubies in a pendant. But the most publicized gift of jewelry he presented to her was the 69.42-carat pear shaped diamond that would eventually be named the Taylor-Burton diamond.

The original rough stone was found in the Premier mine in 1966 and weighed 240.80 carats. It was originally purchased by Harry Winston who brought it to New York for cutting. The huge stone was studied for six months before it was marked and cleaved. Once split, the larger piece weighing 162 carats was ultimately fashioned into the pear shaped stone that would adorn the "most beautiful woman in the world" Elizabeth Taylor.

A highly publicized and dramatic auction was held where among numerous bidders; Al Yugler of Frank Pollack represented Richard Burton. When the price reached $1,000,000, Yugler dropped out. The winner was Robert Kenmore of Cartier paying the record price of $1,050,000.

Still determined to get the stone for Liz, Burton negotiated with Kenmore's agent from a pay-phone in a hotel bar in the south of England. While shoving coins into the box, Burton was heard to say "I don't care how much it is; go and buy it." Of course Cartier did make a profit but it is undetermined as to how much.

Elizabeth first wore the gorgeous stone publicly at Princess Grace's fortieth birthday party in Monaco. In 1978, after Taylor and Burton divorced, she announced that she was selling the diamond to finance the building of a hospital in Botswana. In June of 1979 Henry Lambert bought the Taylor-Burton for $5,000,000 and later sold it to the present owner Robert Mouawad.



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