The Richard Burton Ruby and Diamond Ring, of 8.24 carats, by Van Cleef & Arpels, was a gift from Richard Burton, Christmas 1968. He had promised to buy Elizabeth Taylor a special ruby, with perfect red color, “But it has to be perfect”, he warned. Four years after making his promise, he tucked a small box into the bottom of Elizabeth’s Christmas stocking – so small that she missed it when opening her gifts. This ring achieved $4,226,500 (£2,704,960 / €3,254,405) setting a record for a ruby per carat ($421,981).
“The extraordinary results of the first jewelry sale are a tribute to Elizabeth Taylor’s expert eye for fine gemstones and jewels, as well as her stature as a legendary star and inspiring philanthropist. During the international pre-sale exhibition tour, which travelled all the way to Hong Kong, via Moscow, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Dubai, Geneva and Paris, before arriving in New York, thousands of collectors and admirers braved long lines to get a glimpse of one of the greatest collections of all time,” noted François Curiel, International Jewelry Director and President of Christie’s Asia. “For many, there was both the desire to share in the stories behind Elizabeth Taylor’s iconic jewels and to dream of perhaps acquiring one. For others, the sale provided the opportunity to purchase unique jewels, which brought Elizabeth Taylor such joy and reflect her remarkable taste and connoisseurship. I know she would be thrilled that her passion has inspired others through this landmark event. Being the auctioneer for this sale was one of the most memorable auctioneering events of my life.”