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The Taylor-Burton Diamond

Sep 20th, 2012

The Taylor-Burton Diamond

The Taylor-Burton DiamondThe Taylor-Burton Diamond is a diamond made famous when purchased by actor Richard Burton for his wife Dame Elizabeth Taylor in 1969, receiving worldwide publicity for its size and value.

The original rough diamond was found in 1966 in the Premier Mine in South Africa, weighing 241 carats. It was cut by the legendary Harry Winston to 69.42 carats pear shape.

The diamond was originally owned by Harriet Annenberg Ames. It was subsequently purchased at auction by Robert Kenmore, owner of the luxury brand Cartier, for a then record $1,050,000. It is regarded as the world’s first million-dollar diamond—although other stones may have previously changed hands privately for seven figures or more, this was the first one to do so at a public auction.

The sale of the diamond carried with it naming rights, and it was named “The Cartier Diamond”. Cartier placed the diamond into a diamond necklace. Richard Burton, whose auction agent had dropped out of the bidding when the price broached the $1 million threshold, subsequently purchased the diamond for his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, soon after the auction. Cartier parted with the diamond for a small premium (Burton is believed to have paid $1.1 million for the diamond) due to the great publicity that the sale generated, Burton and Taylor then being top movie stars and arguably the most famous couple in the world.Taylor who wore it publicly on a necklace for the first time at Princess Grace of Monaco’s 40th birthday celebration held in Monaco. At this time, it was known as the “Cartier-Burton Diamond”, and it was featured on the Here’s Lucy episode “Lucy Meets the Burtons”. The episode, which co-starred Taylor and Burton along with series headliner Lucille Ball, was aired on September 14, 1970 and inaugurated the third season of Here’s Lucy.

Burton had earlier had bought Taylor the 33-carat Krupp Diamond in 1968. It cost $305,000. After their divorce, Taylor auctioned the diamond in 1978 for $5,000,000, which was used to build a hospital in Botswana.

It was bought by Henry Lambert, a New York-based jeweler.

Its current owner is Robert Mouawad, who had the diamond re-cut to 68.0 carat.

Famous Diamonds

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