Sunday, March 15, 2015

Liz Taylor's 'Taj Mahal' diamond sparks dispute

Elizabeth Taylor's heart-shaped diamond known as the "Taj Mahal" is at the center of a legal squabble between the trustees of the actress' estate and Christie's auction house.

"I set out to buy the Taj Mahal for my wife's 40th birthday," Burton told reporters at a Budapest hotel in 1974. "Finding it difficult to buy the Taj, I bought this diamond for her instead."
The gem sold for $8.8 million in December 2011 at an auction of her jewelry collection in New York. However the auction house subsequently cancelled the sale at the buyer's request and asked for the money back and Taylor's estate refused.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are mobbed by fans in Boston in 1964.
The dispute focuses on an inscription on the piece that bears the name of a Mughal emperor's wife. Months after the diamond's sale, the buyer — who is known only to the auction house ­— demanded that the sale be cancelled based on the buyer's contention that the stone was not from the Mughal period.
The Taj Mahal Diamond, on a gold and ruby chain, by Cartier realized $8,818,500, setting a world auction record for an Indian jewel.

Inscribed with the name Nur Jahan, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahangir, this heart-shaped diamond is believed to have been a gift from the ruler to his son, who became the great emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666).
Elizabeth Taylor amassed a collection of jewels unlike anything the world had ever seen. The collection sold at Christies in New York in late 2011 for $137,235,575. The jewelry included spectacular pieces by Bvlgari, David Webb, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and many pieces by JAR.

The headliner was La Peregrina, a 16th century pear necklace which sold for $11,842,500.

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