Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The priciest jewels ever sold at auction

Liz-Taylor.jpg
Pellegrino-jewel.jpg
blue-ring.jpg
pink-jewel.jpg

It was the film that was begging to be made - Elizabeth Taylor’s extraordinary life is explored through the auction of her iconic jewellery collection in Channel 4’s must-view documentary Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime.

The feature, set to air tonight (18 April) at 9pm, centres on Christie’s landmark Elizabeth Taylor Collection auction last December, where frenetic bidders shifted over £74 million in a single night, making it the most valuable private collection of jewels to ever sell at auction.

Not only is the actress's love affair with jewellery examined, the people central to her life are also explored with exclusive interviews with Joan Collins, Liza Minnelli, Mickey Rooney and designers like Bulgari, Cartier and Valentino.

So, in the spirit of Liz’s "Crown Jewels of Hollywood," we’ve trawled the archives to find the five most expensive gems ever to have sold at auction...

Words: Sejal Kapadia. Picture Credit: Rex Features, Channel 4

1. The Graff Pink – sold for £28.9 million

Holding the world record for the most expensive diamond and jewel ever sold at auction, this diamond is as extraordinary as it gets. The pink toned rectangular stone weighs 24.78 carats and is set between shield-shaped diamond shoulders, in platinum. Formerly owned by diamond giant Harry Winston, Laurence Graff bought it at Sotheby’s, Geneva in 2010 and rebranded it its current title.

ABOVE: The Graff Pink ring, which sold for almost £29 million.

2. The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond - sold for £16.4 million

This historic cushion cut grey-blue 35.56 carat diamond originates from the ancient Indian kingdom of Golkonda. Laurence Graff purchased the diamond at a Christie’s London auction in 2008 and controversially had it cut by three different diamond cutters to remove every flaw in 2010.

3. The Perfect Pink - sold for £14.86 million

It’s all in the name. Christie’s 2010 auction in Hong Kong became a rare event in the world of jewels, where in over 244 years of auction history this was the first to be graded a ‘Fancy Intense Pink’. Cut to a rectangular shape at 14.23 carats, the stone is considered perfection amongst gem connoisseurs worldwide. Sadly it sold to an anonymous buyer.

ABOVE: The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond, worth a cool £16.4 million.

4. The Bulgari Blue - sold for £9.94 million

This two-stone ring was designed by the house of Bulgari in the 1970s, and features a triangular blue diamond, the largest ‘Fancy Vivid Blue’ diamond of this cut to ever be offered at auction. It was purchased by an Asian collector in a three-way bidding battle.

ABOVE: Liz Taylor wears the famous La Peregrina necklace in 1992.

5. La Peregrina – sold for £7.6 million

Featured in the documentary, this diamond, pearl and ruby necklace holds a 500-year-old pearl drop, originating from the crown jewels of Spain. Once owned by Mary Tudor, Richard Burton famously purchased it for Taylor as a Valentine’s gift at $37,000 in 1969, after successfully outbidding a member of the Spanish Royal family. Today, it holds the World Auction Record for a Pearl Jewel.

Above: Stills from Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime, airing tonight on Channel 4

Related

bob=hero.jpg

Alchemy of Beauty

macarons-splash.jpg

Jewellery for foodies

Monroe_Hero.jpg

Hollywood icons uncovered

Comments

More

Gigi Hadid speaks out about Milan Fashion Week assault for first time

“What would you tell your daughter to do in that situation?” by Kayleigh Dray

27 Sep 2016

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Karlie Kloss's royal date to the end of an era for the Girls cast by Nicola Colyer

27 Sep 2016

Jennifer and Justin reveal secret to their happy marriage

They’re not just husband and wife – they’re Friends, too by Kayleigh Dray

27 Sep 2016

Will & Grace return: watch the brand new episode right here

“We're baaaaaaack!” by Moya Crockett

27 Sep 2016

Angelina Jolie to become university lecturer at LSE

It’s a brand-new start for Angelina Jolie by Kayleigh Dray

27 Sep 2016

Elle MacPherson reveals why she regrets starring in Friends

“It was a lot of pressure…” by Kayleigh Dray

26 Sep 2016

Watch Emma Watson’s powerful feminist video

“The race is still on. Every day of every year of our lives, but we will cross the finishing line. No one can stop us.” by Harriet Hall

26 Sep 2016

Anna Kendrick praises Gigi Hadid for elbowing man who assaulted her

The Pitch Perfect star has defended Gigi Hadid from critics by Kayleigh Dray

26 Sep 2016

From Will & Grace to Buffy: when cult TV and film casts reunite

The cast of Will & Grace are back together again...

26 Sep 2016

Making a Murderer’s Steven Avery is engaged

“One bright spot in an otherwise unbelievably tragic and unfair life story.” by Moya Crockett

26 Sep 2016