Let­ter from the Ed­i­tor

Robb Report (Malaysia) - - Contents - Photo POPPERFOTO/GETTY IM­AGES

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.

Ken­neth Tan

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