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Pearl Lovers Mourn Hollywood Legend

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Farewell to a Legendary Pearl Lover

Elizabeth Taylor, the legendary actress famed for her beauty, her jet-set lifestyle, her charitable endeavors and her many marriages died on March 23, at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. She was 79 years old.  She will be mourned, not only by her fans from her successful career in motion pictures, but from jewelry lovers around the world; primarily the ones who favor pearls.
In 1969, Richard Burton spent $37,000, narrowly outbidding Prince Alfonso de Bourbon Asturias, to gift his wife,  Elizabeth Taylor with La Peregrina, a stunning pear shaped pearl, for her thirty-seventh birthday. “  Included in the purchase of La Peregrina was the pearl’s interesting history, which is as fascinating as the pearl is rare and beautiful. A slave was set free after finding the pearl in the Gulf of Panama and bringing it to the Spanish court. It was later given to Mary Tudor of England upon her engagement to Spain’s Phillip II in 1554. Later, Queens Margarita and Isabel owned the pearl. Both were immortalized, wearing the pearl, in separate portraits by a famous  sixteenth century painter.  And finally, in the early part of the 1800’s, the famous Bonaparte family owned the pearl.

Elizabeth got her ideas of how she wanted the pearl necklace set from a painting of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was wearing it as a choker. The pearl’s former setting can be seen in publicity shots for Elizabeth’s cameo in the 1969 film,
Anne of the Thousand Days, and the new, more elaborate setting in the films Divorce His—Divorce Hers and A Little Night Music.
Burton and Taylor had considered writing a book on the fascinating history of the pearl and its owners, but unfortunately they never did. They also considered purchasing a four-hundred year old painting with the pearl adorning Queen Mary—but nothing could match the brilliance and elegance of this amazing gem more than Elizabeth herself.

 

 

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