From a very young age, my mother swooned to me about her love for Elizabeth Taylor – the Queen of jewelry or the modern day Marie Antoinette in my opinion. What girl would not be enchanted by their charming persona and ravishing love affairs that would go down in history? However, I did not fall in love with Elizabeth Taylor, but only through this great Hollywood actress, was I able to discover my love for Cartier at such a tender age…
^The Cartier Diamond in the original ring setting for Elizabeth Taylor.
On November 12, 1969, Elizabeth Taylor wore for the first time the ever so famous Taylor-Burton Diamond to Princess Grace of Monaco‘s 40th birthday. Three days from today, this will be exactly 44 years! The D-color flawless diamond of 69.42 carats was originally found in 1966 at the Premiere Mine of South Africa. The first owner, Harry Winston, and his team had studied it for more than half a year before attempting to cleave it into its pear shape. When its second owner, Harriet Annenberg Ames sent the diamond to be auctioned in New York, there was immediate buzz as to who would purchase this splendid piece. Of course, Elizabeth Taylor had her eyes on it and even had the diamond flown to Switzerland for her to preview, then flown back to NYC.
The auction was held on October 23, 1969 with the final battle between Robert Kenmore (owner of Cartier) and Al Yugler of Frank Pollack (representing Richard Burton). The diamond was won by Cartier for 1.05 million dollars, but the story is not finished yet as Burton was determined to purchase the diamond as his 2nd major gift to his darling wife, Elizabeth Taylor. Immediately outside his hotel at a pay phone, Burton began calling Kenmore’s agents. I imagine after major haggling, Cartier agreed to sell the diamond at a small premium to Burton on the condition that they showcase the piece at their flagship boutiques in NYC and Chicago, known as the “The Cartier Diamond” at the time (shortly after known as the Cartier-Burton diamond, then finally as the Taylor-Burton diamond).
^Taylor looks genuinely happy in this photo with Burton at her side and wearing one of the world’s largest diamonds.
^Taylor with the famous diamond as well as Burton’s first gift to her – the Asscher cut Krupp Diamond ring.
^The diamond worn in its original ring setting, before Taylor requested Cartier to turn it into a necklace.
^As the caption in the picture states, “The Cartier Diamond” – 69.42 cts featured at Cartier’s NYC and Chicago boutiques in 1969 with machine guns and +++ security as 6000 – 10 000 people visited daily to feast in its beauty.
Well there you have it, I fell in love with the House of Cartier and have always admired the brand’s heritage in “haute joaillerie.” From various royal courts in France, England, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Siam, Serbia, Belgium, Romania, Egypt, Albania, Monaco, and of course India, Cartier is deemed “the Jeweler of Kings, and the King of Jewelers.” It is just a wonderful read on so many magnificent people over the last century and their affiliations with this luxury company. What speaks to me even more is the brand’s mascot, la panthère. My Chinese zodiac sign is the tiger, I’ve had 3 cats growing up, and it was interesting that a friend once compared me to a feline creature… I guess I am a crazy cat-lady in the end!!! haha
Anyhow, do remember to give your beloved this holiday season a gift to remember! Even the greatest love in history dies, but a diamond will last forever, especially if it is a Cartier diamond!!! 😀
^Credit: Cartier advertising campaign from Cartier.com