Taylor Burton Diamond Replica
The Taylor–Burton Diamond, a diamond weighing 68 carats, became notable in 1969 when it was purchased by actors Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Burton had previously been the underbidder when jeweller Cartier bought the diamond at auction for $1,050,000, setting a record price for a publicly sold jewel.
Richard Burton's first jewelry purchase for Elizabeth Taylor was the 33.19-carat Asscher-cut Krupp Diamond, in 1968. This had formerly been part of the estate of Vera Krupp, second wife of the steel magnate Alfred Krupp. Miss Taylor wears this stone in a ring. She has worn it in a number of her post-1968 films, during her interview on CNN's Larry King Live in 2003, and just about everywhere else she goes. Next came the La Peregrina Pearl for which Burton paid £15,000. The stone has a long and complex history. For Elizabeth's 40th birthday in 1972 Richard Burton gave her a heart-shaped diamond known as the Taj-Mahal. The stone is fairly large and flat, with an Arabic inscription on either side. It is set with rubies and diamonds in a yellow gold rope-pattern necklace. "I would have liked to buy her the Taj-Mahal," he remarked, "but it would cost too much to transport. This diamond has so many carats, its almost a turnip." Then he added, "Diamonds are an investment. When people no longer want to see Liz and I on the screen, then we can sell off a few baubles."
By the far the best known of Richard Burton's purchases was the 69.42-carat pear-shape, later to be called the Taylor-Burton Diamond. It was cut from a rough stone weighing 240.80 carats found in the Premier Mine in 1966 and subsequently bought by Harry Winston. Here there is a coincidence: Eight years before, another cleavage of almost identical weight (240.74 carats) had been found in the Premier. Harry Winston bought this stone too, commenting at the time, "I don't think there have been half a dozen stones in the world of this quality." This wouldn't be the first time the Premier Mine would have the last word because the 69.42-carat gem cut from the later discovery is a D-color Flawless stone.
As well as Richard Burton, Harry Winston had also been an under-bidder at the sale. But Burton was not finished yet and was determined to acquire the diamond. So, speaking from a pay-phone of a well-known hotel in southern England, he spoke to Mr. Kenmore's agent. Sandwiched between the lounge bar and the saloon, Burton negotiated for the gem while continually dropping coins into the phone. Patrons quietly sipping their drinks would have heard the actor's loud tones exclaiming "I don't care how much it is; go and buy it." In the end Robert Kenmore agreed to sell it, but on the condition that Cartier was able to display it, by now named the Taylor-Burton, in New York and Chicago. He did not deny that Cartier made a profit, stating "We're businessmen and we're happy that Miss Taylor is happy."
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