Saturday, 25 January 2014

Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend (Elizabeth Taylor's Definitely Were)

Why Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend
Marilyn Monroe may have sung "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), but the star most synonymous for wearing diamonds had to be Elizabeth Taylor. As a child I was fascinated by two things about the eight-times married Hollywood icon: her violet eyes and her jewellery collection. But is it possible that diamonds really could be your best friend (metaphorically speaking of course)? 

As someone who has never owned a real diamond (all say "ahh") I've yet to find out, but a girl can dream, can't she. The stories behind some of Taylor's pieces are the stuff of legend, and they intrigued me when I was young - and still do. These ones are, in my opinion, some of the best sparklers the world has ever seen.


Elizabeth Taylor: The Taylor-Burton Diamond

The two most famous pieces can be seen above: Richard Burton bought the Cartier Diamond (as it was then known, above left) for $1.1 million for a ring for Liz in the late 1960s. It is a 69.42 carat, inch-thick diamond and was the world’s most expensive diamond at the time. It is said that Burton insulted her hands, making her want the diamond - now that's the way to get your hands on the world's greatest rock...! However it was extremely heavy, so she had it set into an exquisite necklace (above right) and wore it publicly for the first time to Grace Kelly's 40th birthday celebration in Monaco. For insurance purposes, when wearing the Taylor-Burton Diamond in public she had to be accompanied by two guards - with machine guns, no less. After her death it was renamed the Taylor-Burton Diamond, and deservedly so.

The other well-known piece of hers was the Krupp Diamond ring (above right), also given to her by Richard Burton, and now known as the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond. Look at any picture of Elizabeth Taylor after that time and she's almost certainly wearing it; it was sold at auction after her death for $8.8 million. In my opinion it is the ultimate rock, the engagement ring to end all engagement rings... take a look at this close up and you'll see why.


Elizabeth Taylor's diamonds
Whilst it's doubtful that I'm ever going to own a 69 carat diamond ring, I guess the question is: What's the nearest a girl like me is ever going to get? I'm past the stage of getting to choosing an engagement ring, though if George Clooney had a change of heart about much younger women and decided that 10 years younger is the right age gap and a British fashion blogger was the one for him, then I may just get in line - despite my current marital status. I'll happily take my chances there (Kylie is still single so I won't feel that bad for my husband).

It was in Breakfast at Tiffany's that Holly Golighty (Audrey Hepburn - did you need telling that?) said, "Of course, personally, I think it'd be tacky to wear diamonds before I'm 40". So Elizabeth Taylor may well have taken no notice of that particular quote, but to me that's a green light. All systems go with the diamonds - Holly Golightly said so.


In my imaginary quest for owning a sparkler or two, I thought about the practicalities of actually owning (and wearing) a piece like any of Taylor's. Armed guards are not very practical for me down at the supermarket or going out to get fish and chips on a Friday night. So if given the choice, I'm not sure I really could "do a Liz" and demand the world's most expensive rock simply because George Clooney said my fingers were podgy. But I still believe they are a girl's best friend, and I've found a way to make affordable ones your new BFF.


The gorgeous jewellery pieces below are my top picks from Anjolee Jewelry, a website where you get to personalise your chosen design of rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Every piece is available in a large range of sizes, diamond carat weights, gold karats (yellow or white) or platinum, so it creates many price points for each product and allows you to customize any product based on your individual taste and budget. That's what I like: beautiful and affordable.


Anjolee Dreamy Diamond Drop Earrings
I've picked pieces that I think a budding Elizabeth Taylor (i.e. me) would want if a nice little windfall came my way. The Dreamy Diamond Drop Earrings start at less than $250 which, for real diamonds, won't completely break the bank. I'd choose them in white gold and parade them down Sainsburys to do my weekly shop, wearing dark glasses and telling the security guard on the door to "keep an eye out".

Anjolee Graduated Red Carpet Diamond Necklace
If I were ever to find myself on the red carpet (dreaming, much?) I'd probably need a red carpet-worthy necklace. This beauty is exactly that: the Graduated Red Carpet Diamond Necklace. Though even at (a starting price of) just over $6,000, I'd feel extremely nervous wearing it and do that thing that Julia Roberts does in Pretty Woman on the way to the opera and keep touching it to make sure it's still there. But if I ever get the chance to have a man present me with a box with a necklace inside and then proceed to put it around my neck for me (does this happen in real life?), then a necklace like this is the one for me.

Anjolee Millgrain Detail Princess Cut Engagement Ring
Oh, the wonder of a diamond ring close up...! While I let you get your breath back, I thought it would be fun to imagine I was getting to choose my engagement ring all over again and went for this oh-so-fabulous Millgrain Detail Princess Cut Engagement Ring. The antique style, the square setting, the Princess cut - they all make for a mouth-watering piece of jewellery. I can see why Liz wore her diamond ring pretty much every day; name me a girl who can't resist a fabulous ring. This style starts at just over $1,500 and at that price I reckon I could just about cope with the responsibility of making sure it doesn't get lost. 

I'm a simple girl at heart, however - there's so much to choose from on the Anjolee website that I'd probably start with one of their bangle bracelets or a pair of stud earrings. Marilyn said they were a girl's best friend, Audrey said she wouldn't wear them till she was 40, and Elizabeth threw caution to the wind and showed us all how to wear diamonds in style.


I think diamonds and me would get along just fine... there's always room for a new BFF in my life.

Catherine x
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P.S. PLEASE do share your diamond stories - or anything to do with choosing or being given a piece of jewellery, won't you? I'd love to hear them!

Linking up to: Funday MondayAll Things ThursdayFriday's Fab Favourites
Elizabeth Taylor photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

I have written this post in collaboration with Anjolee Jewelry. All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.
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20 comments

  1. Wow some stunning jewellery picks Catherine. I have to admit to having a real weakness for diamonds & bling which I totally blame on my time as a little girl playing dress up with my grandma's jewellery...she worked hard in life & brought her own rings as my grandad didn't believe in wasting money on such things...I used to love trying her jewellery on & dreaming of when I grew up. Such precious memories & I'm lucky enough that after she sadly passed away to being given one of her rings which I now wear when I want to feel close to her. Jane xx
    www.mymidlifefashion.com

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    1. Thank you Jane - that's a lovely story, I too loved going through my grandma's jewellery (only the costume pieces though). So nice that you have her ring!! x

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  2. Wow to Liz's diamonds! She did everything larger than life. I don't love diamonds myself, and only have one - the diamond my dad gave my mother for their engagement in 1953. It's special. xox

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    1. I love jewellery with a story connected to it, Patti - and those sorts of pieces are the best, aren't they :))

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  3. I do love my diamonds except when they fall out….was at Bruce Springsteen Concert and "clapped out" 2 diamonds from my wedding band! http://barbbruchdesign.tumblr.com
    http://lenamedoyeffstudio.tumblr.com

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    1. Oh gosh Barbara no!!!!! I seem to remember my mum has had the same thing happen to her a few times. I've yet to lose anything that way, I hope I don't jinx myself...!

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  4. This post has me dreaming about some sparkle of my own. In all seriousness, though, I don't think I'd ever be able to wear anything more than my wedding ring - I'm far too careless with my jewelry! The Graduate Red Carpet Diamond Necklace is stunning!

    Halfway Heroine

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    1. Thanks Lindsey - it was hard to stop dreaming about huge sparklers myself when researching and writing this post!!

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  5. The first piece of jewelry Hubby ever bought me (we were still dating) was a gorgeous diamond butterfly necklace. There have been more diamonds since then, but that one is probably the most special. :o)

    www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

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    1. You're a lucky girl...!! That's lovely that you cherish the first one the most x

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  6. I have a diamond wedding ring. It is one carat in weight with seventeen square and baguette diamonds set into a white gold band. Husband and I got married on the quiet last year, after thirteen years together. The only people who knew were our best friends, who were also our witnesses and only guests.

    Husband and I decided to get married after he'd spent time in a hospice as a junior doctor. It made him realise that life's too short to put the important things off until tomorrow. I'd always been happy with the idea of marriage, but not a 'wedding', so our day was just right.

    And the money we didn't spend went towards my beautiful ring, which was only ready two days prior as we'd planned everything so quickly!

    I did feel odd about carrying so much 'real estate' on my hand at first, but now I am okay with it. I only take it off to go running, in case I fall over and dash the stones out of the band!

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    1. What a brilliant idea, to save on the actual wedding in order to buy yourself a fabulous ring - we too planned our wedding in just a few weeks, but it was the honeymoon we then saved up for... for three years in fact! To NYC - it was so worth it :)

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  7. This was a really fun post to read, Catherine!! I enjoyed the little bit of movie star history; and the photos of Liz and her collection of "ice" are stunning!! Aside from my engagement ring, I don't own any other diamond jewellery either...I'm actually more of a fashion jewellery - rather than a fine jewellery - enthusiast. But that doesn't mean I'd say "no thank you!" if I was presented with any of your featured pieces!! ;)

    www.StyleIsMyPudding.com

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  8. I loved the earrings you choose for your personal collection. I received a beautiful diamond ring surrounded by sapphires from my partner for our ten year anniversary of "living in sin"!

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  9. I loved the earrings you choose for your personal collection. I received a beautiful diamond ring surrounded by sapphires from my partner for our ten year anniversary of "living in sin"!

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  10. Thank you for the post on Liz's diamonds, they are something to behold aren't they. A couple of years ago some filthy toerags broke into our house and stole my diamond engagement and eternity rings. The diamonds were very modest (I had had the rings for a very long time!) so wouldn't have netted the toerags much, but it was upsetting because my husband chose them and that is why they were special. A short while after that incident my husband decided that he would get me a new ring and I have a lovely three (much less modest) diamond ring which sparkles beautifully. That year was also our 25th wedding anniversary and I got a spectacular pair of 1 carat diamond studs (once again chosen by my husband and given as a surprise) which I wear most days. I feel particularly glam in them even if I am only at work in a suit :)

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  11. I inherited my grandmother's jewellery when she died, and there's an engagement ring in there that we think belonged to my great-grandmother. There obviously wasn't much money, as the ring is all setting, with a teeny little speck of a diamond. Unfortunately, I don't have my gran's ring, she lost hers after losing a lot of weight when my granddad died. It fell off without her realising.

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  12. When I was in my teens I could not imagine why anyone would pay so much money for something that looks like a piece of glass. Then all of a sudden when I was about 22 I craved for diamonds and pearls. Of course I could not afford it, so I bought paste. Through the years I have gathered quite a few rather nice antique diamond rings. There is once catch: if you change rings as much as you do and you want to look contemporary...an antique diamond ring is not the best buy. You don't want to hide it in the cupboard most of the times. And if you wear it, it demands full attention. So be glad you don't have diamonds. It allows you to vary more. (I bet you never looked at it from this perspective.)
    Greetje

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