UNMISSABLE: BVLGARI AND ELIZABETH TAYLOR

The matchless emerald necklace of Elizabeth Taylor.  Made by Bvlgari, it was a present from Richard Burton.

Elizabeth Taylor wearing the necklace in 1965 after winning her Oscar for 'Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf'.

A rare treat is in store for you if you happen to have half an afternoon to spare in London this week... for a very limited time only, Bvlgari are showing seven jewels from the collection from Elizabeth Taylor.  These are all highly unique pieces that the Italian jewellery house made and which were subsequently acquired by Elizabeth.  The actress’ substantial jewellery collection was sold after her death in 2011, with the proceeds going to charity, in accordance to her last wishes.  Bvlgari tried to buy back all the jewellery made by them on offer at the auction, but they were outbid on several pieces.  As has been reported, the jewels sold way over their original estimate, highlighting the pulling power of Elizabeth’s mega-stardom. 

Happily for us, though, they managed to bid successfully on what was probably Elizabeth’s most famous piece, her magnificent emerald necklace.  It was a gift to her from Richard Burton, and he and Elizabeth would spend many happy afternoons in Bvlgari in Rome while filming Cleopatra.  The stones are matchless; the set was added to over the years with other Bvlgari pieces which are also on show, such as a peerless emerald pendant that can also be worn as a brooch, an important emerald ring and a charming emerald and diamond brooch in the shape of a spray of flowers.

The emerald and diamond flower spray brooch.

Also on show is the dramatic geometric sapphire and diamond sautoir executed in a bold geometric design.  The centre stone is a beautiful, sugar loaf sapphire of just under 53 carats, of a dreamy blue hue that is only found in the most perfect examples from Burma.  It is accompanied by another important cabochon sapphire set into a diamond ring, which Elizabeth bough some years after the sautoir, realising that it perfectly matched the stone already in her possession.

The boldly designed geometric sautoir, featuring an impressive Burmese sugar loaf sapphire just shy of 53 carats.

Elizabeth Taylor with Richard Burton looking impossibly glamorous, wearing her sapphire and diamond sautoir.

The exhibition, which also includes four costumes worn by Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, is small- but perfect due to the quality of the exhibits.  It is being held to celebrate the 125 year anniversary of Bvlgari and there is no knowing when these jewels will be seen again.  One rather sad thing is that these jewels will probably never be worn; having been owned by someone who derived so much pleasure from playing with and wearing her glitter, there is something almost melancholy in their fate of being forever locked behind glass.

Bvlgari and Elizabeth Taylor is on show at Bvlgari, 168 New Bond Street, London, W1S 4RB, until 16th July 2016.