7. Taylor Burton Diamond – most expensive diamonds

Taylor Burton Diamond, a diamond weighing 68 carats (13.6 g), became notable in 1969 when it was purchased by actors Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

Burton had previously been the under-bidder when jeweler Cartier bought the diamond at auction for $1,050,000, setting a record price for a publicly sold jewel.

Thousands of people in New York and Chicago queued to see the diamond after its 1969 sale. It was subsequently worn by Taylor at Princess Grace of Monaco’s 40th birthday, and at the 42nd Academy Awards.

Taylor Burton Diamond

The original rough diamond was found in 1966 in the Premier Mine in South Africa, weighing 241 carats (48.2 g). Harry Winston cut it into the shape of a pear weighing 69.42 carats (13.884 g).

At the time of sale in 1969, the diamond was set in a platinum ring with two smaller diamonds on either side.

After its purchase by Taylor and Burton, Taylor found the diamond too heavy to wear as a ring and commissioned an $80,000 diamond necklace which included a custom setting for the diamond. The necklace was designed to fit Taylor’s neck allowing the diamond to cover her tracheotomy scar resulting from her bout with near-fatal pneumonia in 1961.

In 1980, Robert Mouawad, a subsequent owner of the Taylor Burton diamond, had it recut to 68.0 carats (13.60 g).

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