Claddagh ring blog - Taylor Burton Diamond
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor certainly drew attention to the appeal of diamonds.
Their well-publicized dealings have been a source of interest to people in all parts of the world.
Richard Burton's first purchase for Miss Taylor was the 33.19ct 'Krupp' diamond which had formerly been part of the estate of Vera Krupp. Vera Krupp, once the wife of the head of the German munition-making business. Miss Taylor wore the diamond in a ring. In the following year Mrs Harriet Annenberg Ames, the sister of Walter Annenberg, the American Ambassador in London during the presidency of Richard Nixon, sent a pear-shape weighing 69.42ct to Sotherby Parke-Bernet Inc. in New York for auction. It was offered for sale on the understanding that it could be named by the buyer. Mrs Ames had bought the diamond from Harry Winston in 1967 who, in turn, had it cut from a blue-white cleavage found in the Premier Mine the previous year. This stone had weighed 240.80carats.
Before the sale on 23 October 1967 the auctioneers had arranged to fly the diamond to Switzerland for inspection by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. It was reported in the Press that Mrs Jacqueline Onassis was among those who were showing an interest in the gem. In the event Cartier's bought it for a record price and accordingly named it the 'Cartier'. Harry Winston himself had been one of the bidders at the sale. Four days later Cartier's sold the diamond to Richard Burton. However, Robert Kenmore, Chairman of the Board of Kenmore Corporation, the owners of Cartier's, made it a condition of the sale that they could display the by-now-named 'Taylor Burton' in New York and Chicage. An Editorial in the New York Times was distinctly caustic on the matter. Under the heading 'The Million Dollar Diamond' appeared the following comment:
The peasants have been lining up outside Cartier's this week to gawk at a diamond as big as the Ritz that costs well over a million dollars. It is destined to hang around the neck of Mrs Richard Burton. As somebody said, it would have been nice to wear in the tumbril on the way to the guillotine.
In 1978 Miss Taylor announced that she was putting the 'Taylor-Burton' up for sale and was planning to use part of the proceeds to build a hospital in Botswaana. Dare one hope that this was adequately reported in the New York Times? In June of the following year Henry Hambert, the New York jeweller, said that he had purchased the diamond for nearly $3,000,000. By December he had sold the 'Taylor-Burton' which was reported to be in Saudi Arabia.