Elizabeth Taylor and Bulgari: 125 Years of Italian Magnificence

The auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewellery collection was announced. The auction catalogue features over 300 pieces from her fabled jewellery box. I spent the weekend reading about and looking at pictures of her jewels. As much as I like to think that I’ve found some fantastic bijoux, I realized that none of it could really be classified as “important.” And by important, I mean gems with their own Wikipedia entries.

Dame Taylor was interested not only in rings and necklaces and earrings, she was incredibly knowledgable about the history of gemstones. One of my favourites is La Pérégrina – one of the most famous pearls ever. It was given by Philip II of Spain to his bride Mary Tudor. And she would have these gems set by the greatest jewellers. There was one quote, from her two-time husband Richard Burton, that stood out: “I introduced Liz to beer, and she introduced me to Bulgari.”

Which reminded me of another thing that makes my own jewellery collection feel mean and small: Bulgari: 125 Years of Italian Magnificence. This tome is full of Bulgari‘s opulent creations. While these kinds of baubles are not to my taste, I can still appreciate them as works of art. The closest I’ll ever get to owning such jewels is the costume ring pictured below.

And here’s a link to a slideshow of some of the baubles available at the Christies auction (via Gawker).