Letter from the Editor
Giving, it seems does make the world go round. A notable example is the 69.42- carat Taylor- Burton Diamond, which had been found as a 241-carat stone and cut into a pear shape by Harry Winston. First bought by Harriet Annenberg Ames in 1967, the size of the gem presented difficulties in its wearing and an auction was announced in 1969. From a reserve price of US$200,000, the diamond’s price rocketed and was hammered down at US$1.05 million –a new record for the public auction of a jewel at the time. The winner was Robert Kenmore from Kenmore Corporation, the then parent company of jeweller Cartier, while the underbidders’ gallery included Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who had set a maximum bid of US$1 million. Almost immediately, the loss of this diamond (then renamed the Cartier Diamond) threw Burton into a fit, who was quoted as saying he wanted the diamond because it was “incomparably lovely … and should be on the loveliest woman in the world”. This was circa Burton’s first marriage with Taylor (who was on her fifth).
The next day, Burton bought the diamond for US$1.1 million and the rock was subsequently renamed the Taylor-burton Diamond. That diamond showed up for Princess Grace of Monaco’s 40th birthday – through intricate logistics involving three men with identical briefcases – and later, at the 42nd Academy Awards. Soon after Taylor’s second divorce (to Burton), the diamond was sold to Henry Lambert for an undisclosed fee – claimed to be in the region of between US$3 million and US$5 million – with part of the proceeds going towards construction of a hospital in Botswana (where the second marriage between Taylor and Burton had taken place). The diamond, however, continued to change hands with a further sale to Robert Mouawad, who had it recut to its present-day 68.09-carat weight.