Liz Taylor Gem Sale Smashes Records

7 world records fall at $116M sale of fabled collection
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2011 4:18 AM CST
Liz Taylor Gem Sale Smashes Records
This 33.19-carat diamond ring given to Elizabeth Taylor by actor Richard Burton sold for over $8.8 million at auction in New York Tuesday night.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(Newser) – The sale of Elizabeth Taylor's legendary gem collection shattered records—and estimates—at Christie's in New York last night. Amid competition so fierce that bids sometimes jumped by a million dollars, the $116 million sale of the late star's gems broke the world record for a private collection of jewels along with six other records, including the price for a pearl, Forbes reports. "La Peregrina," a pearl owned by a succession of Spanish kings between 1582 and 1808, sold for $11.8 million.

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A 33.19-carat diamond ring given to Taylor by Richard Burton—whom she married twice—fetched $8.8 million. Auctioneers had predicted that the entire sale of 80 lots would fetch only around $30 million. More of Taylor's belonging will be sold later this week, with part of the proceeds going to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. The star died of heart failure earlier this year at the age of 79—and was fashionably late for her own funeral. (Read more auction stories.)

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