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March 24, 2011

Dame Elizabeth Taylor: a style icon remembered

Lucire staff/11.58

We’ve thought about it and other than praising her charity work raising money for Aids, there isn’t a better tribute we can make to the late, great Dame Elizabeth Taylor, DBE, than showing her at her peak. Below is a video of her in Las Vegas with then-husband Eddie Fisher, in 1959.
   This video exemplifies much of what we in the fashion world remember of Dame Elizabeth: her love of jewellery and extravagant dresses.
   When you search for her name among the Lucire archives, it appears in connection with jewellery or a series of licensed fragrances which drew on her name. One exception is a 1954 photograph taken of her by Cecil Beaton, when we did a story on his work—we rightly felt that Taylor was a style icon, and featured her photograph alongside those of Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe. Dietrich and Monroe have long passed, giving us a hallowed impression of their fame; some years from this point, Dame Elizabeth will be thought of in a similar vein.
   Taylor’s greatest claims to fame in the fashion world were arguably the items of jewellery bought for her by Richard Burton, one of her husbands.
   The first was the Asscher-cut Krupp diamond, at 33·19 ct, which trumped one bought for her by her third husband, Mike Todd, that weighed 29 ct. The Krupp diamond was worn by Dame Elizabeth in a ring and can be seen in her 2003 Larry King interview.
   The La Peregrina pearl was next, followed by the Taj-Mahal heart-shaped diamond with Arabic inscriptions.
   The most famous was what has since been named the Taylor–Burton diamond, a flawless D-colour pear-shaped 69·42 ct stone cut from a rough one weighing 240·80 ct.
   Some of the jewellery stories filed recently by Paris editor Lola Saab from Boucheron and Van Cleef & Arpels bring Dame Elizabeth to mind—she was a wearer of both houses’ work.
   It was an admitted passion, as Dame Elizabeth authored My Love Affair with Jewellery in 2002.

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