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The eighty items – including pearls, colourless diamonds, and Indian jewels – had been estimated to raise around $20 million, but instead a new world record has been set. Taylor’s gems are the most valuable private collection of jewels ever sold at auction.
Rahul Kadakia, head of jewellery for Christie’s Americas, was ecstatic with the results and reportedly said, 'This is truly one of the greatest jewellery collections in the world. But in my wildest dreams, I did not think we would outsell the estimate by five times.'
The room broke into applause as the world famous La Peregrina necklace pulled in a whopping $11.8 million. One collector paid $8.8 million for the 33.29-carat Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, a present from Richard Burton. The auctions continue today when the actor’s haute couture, including the dresses she wore for her two weddings to Burton, will be sold.
A portion of profits from the sale is to be donated to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.