The spectacular 69.42 carat tear drop shape diamond went to auction in 1969 in New York City.

The spectacular 69.42 carat tear drop shape diamond went to auction in 1969 in New York City.

The fifty sixth largest cut diamond in the world was sold by Harry Winston in 1967 to Mrs. Harriet Annenberg-Ames.  The diamond became the focus of the Parke-Bernet auction as buyers competed to purchase and name the diamond.  Richard Burton, the famous movie star, waited at his home in Switzerland as the auctioneers flew the diamond to him for his approval. However, the historic sale took an unexpected turn, Cartier out bid Mr. Burton and purchased the diamond for $1,050,000.00.   Richard Burton’s passion was intense as he was determined not to lose the beautiful tear drop diamond for his love, Elizabeth Taylor.  Mr. Burton bought the diamond four days later from Cartier for $1, 100, 00.00; as Cartier states “they made a nominal profit.”

Famous Diamonds, Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor waited patiently for her illustrious gem as Cartier exhibited the diamond in New York and Chicago creating huge publicity.  The New York Times published an article about the famous diamond claiming that people were waiting in long lines to see the ‘diamond as big as the Ritz.’

“Originally I wore the diamond as a ring, but even for me it was too big so we had Cartier design a necklace” states Taylor.

The Burton-Taylor diamond made it first appearance in Monaco at Princess Grace Kelly’s fortieth birthday party. Elizabeth Taylor wore it with a black velvet cape with scorpion motifs to celebrate the Princess’s astrological sign.

The “No Name Diamond” finally had a name: it is forever called “Burton-Taylor Diamond.”

Janet Deleuse

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