Giving gifts can be a real challenge. No one wants to be known as a bad gift giver, you know, the person who doles out stale fruitcakes to their friends and loved ones. But even with the best intentions gifting is hard. First, you have to figure out what someone wants, which sometimes feels like deciphering the Rosetta Stone. Then you have to find that delicate balance between what the person desires and the limitations of your budget.
Just be glad you aren’t buying a gift for Elizabeth Taylor. (For you young ones Elizabeth Taylor was an actress with violet eyes and a penchant for getting married, though not so much staying married.) Yes, I know she’s dead, but I’m not sure if there is anyone in history for whom it was harder to shop…I mean unless you had several million dollars in your back pocket.
Let’s focus in on a few of the gifts she received from Richard Burton, her twice married, twice divorced ex-husband. Ole’ Richie used his exorbitant salaries from acting in movies like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Cleopatra to lavish gifts upon his beloved.
In 1968 Burton took Elizabeth out on his yacht and presented her with a 33.19 stone called the Krupp Diamond. I can relate to this so much—no, never mind— I was just thinking of a dream. Anyway, the Krupp Diamond is a D color VS1 clarity stone in an Asscher cut that Elizabeth had set into a ring. Despite having already been married for 4 years this was referred to as Elizabeth’s engagement ring, and I’d say that’s an engagement ring worth waiting for. In 2011 after her death, this sucker sold for $8.8 million. I mean I like nice things too, but dang that’s a chunk of change.
One might think with a rock the size of Neptune on your finger you’d be all set for gifts for…I don’t know…ever. But alas, not Elizabeth, she had needs. Richard soon outdid himself when in 1969, yes you read that right just one year after the last big stone, he managed to ante up a 69.42-carat gem named the Taylor-Burton Diamond. It was a pear-shaped stone set in a ring, which Elizabeth said was too heavy to wear. Yeah, that’s right, she couldn’t lift her freaking arm the diamond was so big. Instead, she had it put into a necklace with a king’s ransom-worth of other diamonds. After their second divorce Taylor sold this piece at auction and used some (not even all!!!) the proceeds to build a hospital in Botswana. I mean that’s great, but imagine getting a gift under the Christmas tree this year that is worth…I don’t know…A HOSPITAL!
Later in 1969, yes the late ’60s were evidently gushing with gifts for Elizabeth, Burton gave her a 50-carat pearl called La Peregrina Pearl. Now, I know what you are thinking after those two gigantic diamonds, “A measly pearl, who cares!” But you should know by now that Richie-Rich didn’t mess around. This pearl has blue blood, as it was owned by the Spanish monarchy. At the time of its discovery, 500 years ago, it was the largest pearl on earth. This pretty pearl was immortalized on canvas in a painting of the Queen of Spain done by none other than Peter Paul Rubens. Taylor had Cartier whip up a necklace to showcase the pearl with loads of diamonds and rubies. The end result was truly fit for modern royalty. So much so, that she even lent it to the Smithsonian Institution for a while. In 2011 this piece sold for TWO Botswanan hospitals otherwise known as $11 million.
So this year, as your shop for your loved ones, just be glad you don’t have to buy gifts for Elizabeth Taylor. It certainly puts that fancy new X-Box price tag into perspective. And should you want to shower someone with jewels Saint K can make you some custom jewelry that is just as beautiful as anything Elizabeth owned but at a much more affordable price.