Treasures for body and mind

12 December, 2011

What I Saw At the Christie's Exhibit

There was plenty of food for thought among the glorious gems.

Liz Taylor's jewelry boxes are on display.  She kept and labeled them (with a label machine and white label tape) with the names of the people who gave them to her, the date, and the circumstance. What do you think? Was this the action of a collector who knew later collectors would value the jewels' provenance or were they trophies?  Would you do such a thing?  Do you tell your children the stories of your jewelry?  "This was your great grandmother's ring.  This one was your great-aunt's.  Your father bought this for me in Saudi." 
An exhibit of jewelry boxes, with the worst photos of Mike Todd giving Liz Taylor a diamond necklace.  She looked frumpy!  
I watched my daughter (so much her father- she quickly looked, saw her favorites from the catalogues, then found a bench and read a book), and knew I would not leave my jewelry to anyone except my girls. Why didn't Taylor leave her best jewels to her children?  Did they talk about it beforehand or did they feel betrayed?  Did they tell her they did not want the insurance/body guards her collection necessitated?   Did Liz Taylor leave her children their favorites?   The costume jewelry brooch she bought for her mother as a child, with the loving note from her mother when she gave it back years later, is for sale.  That would be an heirloom in our house, costume or no.  I felt sorry for the brooch- to be so loved and now to be sold from the family.
Ms. Taylor and her children at Buckingham Palace the day she became Dame Taylor- she's wearing the Van Cleef earrings she designed for the day.  They are up for auction too.
The crowd was huge.  The lines were like Disney World.  There were prospective buyers discretely escorted by Christie's employees quietly describing pieces.  They were circumspect and did not stand out among the throngs of gawkers.  The gawkers (including us) ranged from those who were movie and Liz Taylor fans to those who were jewelery fanatics.  Considering tickets to get in were not cheap, the ones who were neither confused me.  I enjoyed a woman who said the jewels were convincing her to get hers out and wear them again; she collected for years but was out of practice wearing them. Her advice for potential collectors- go to estate sales.  She and I had totally opposite tastes.  I also liked the lady in sweatpants who loved jewelry, knew all about Liz Taylor, and was thrilled to see the best of the best.

I got educated regarding color.  Now I understand what color good emeralds are supposed to be and how heavenly sapphires are.  I'd never seen that perfect, Crayola blue in person before- and had I been able to take something home, it would have been a toss up between the ruby ring (more about that below) and this sapphire necklace and its perfect, perfect blue.  That blue is the color of eternity. 
The display cases were glass, so you could see the backs of the jewelry!  That was great!  I'm a huge fan of scoping out the finish of jewelry, so to see the back of the JAR balls was fantastic- they are complete spheres except for an small hole on the back, sort of like the hole in a sea urchin skeleton.  The hole was ringed in white diamonds, the same size as the sapphires that covered the ball.  Lovely finishing.  First time I saw JAR in person too- and there were other, patinaed JAR earrings too.  The rose petals looked like rose petals; that do they look like on?

The ruby ring Richard Burton gave Liz Taylor for Christmas, "the perfect ruby ring," glows with the truest meaning of red.  It is so powerfully red that you don't notice that the diamonds surrounding it are about a carat (or more) each.  When Dracula said, "The blood is life," he described this ruby.  It should be alive.  Photos fail miserably to capture its presence.

Was delighted to see a Bob Dylan poster he'd inscribed in purple ink for "Liz" and a poster from Michael Jackson proclaiming "Liz" was the love of his life.  He bought her some thrilling (har har har) pieces including a sapphire ring that could summon angels.  I also thought it was cool that her luggage (piles of it) was scuffed and obviously well-used.  Here was a woman who did not throw something away if it still worked.  
It was a wonderful chance to see the best of the best.  I've overused the world "amazing" so I'll use  "awesome" in its original meaning.  It messed with my sense of normality.  Before the Peregrina Pearl at the end of the exhibit, there was a(nother) display of diamond jewels.  In the case was a "little" yellow gold bow of pave diamonds, about two inches across.  My first thought was, "Awww, what a cute little bow."  Come again?  If I owned it, it would be the pride of my collection!  Time to savor one more flash of clear diamond light, one more emerald and sapphire blaze, and return to reality- where a one carat diamond ring is a reasonably large ring.
For those who cannot go, click here and watch what Christies has to say about the auction.  You can see some of the colors in the gems...

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