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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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 Monday, All Things Thursday, Friday’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.