Who would choose a pearl necklace over some government bonds or company shares? The answer is most people, if this week’s Elizabeth Taylor jewellery auction is anything to go by.
It appears investors are turning their backs on global markets and are instead looking to invest in hard assets – like the actress’s 16th-century pearl necklace that sold for a record-making $11.8 million (€9.09 million), much more than the $3 million the auctioneers had expected. In 1969, Taylor’s ex-husband Richard Burton bought the pearl, which had once graced the necks of Mary Tudor and Spanish queens Margarita and Isabel, at auction for $37,000.
In total, the collection of jewels owned by the late actress, famed for her quick wit, multiple marriages and films including National Velvet and Cleopatra, made $116 million. An ivory and gold necklace sold for more than 100 times its estimate of $1,500 to $2,000, fetching $314,500, while the Taj Mahal diamond went for $8.8 million.
The auction in New York continues today, with Taylor’s haute couture going under the hammer.
Just last month, the four-poster bed Taylor, who died in March, shared with her seventh husband Lord Fortensky on their honeymoon fetched £9,375 (€11,167) when it was auctioned in the UK by the Forbes family.