My Love Affair with Jewelry by Elizabeth Taylor

In 2002, My Love Affair with Jewelry by Dame Elizabeth was published; a coffee table sized memoir giving readers an unprecedented access into Elizabeth’s extensive jewelry collection. The book featured stunning photographs and included, in Elizabeth’s own words, the stories that surround the most sentimental and important pieces in her collection. The books also gave Elizabeth the opportunity to “share my collection with others so that they could get a glimpse of the joys, the thrills, and the pure happiness that these beautiful creations have given me.”

The book was based on an idea by Dame Elizabeth’s longtime assistant and friend Timothy R. Mendelson, who undoubtedly knew the great interest the public would have in such a book. The book, which is dedicated to Mike Todd, Richard Burton, and her four children, contains 280 photographs, 125 of them commissioned especially for the book, and many of the others from Elizabeth’s own archives.

Dominick Dunne was originally asked to write the book’s introduction, but when alterations were demanded Dunne dropped out of the project. The piece was instead written by jewelry expert François Curiel, Head of Christie’s Jewelry Department Worldwide, who had appraised Elizabeth’s staggering collection in 1998.

In honour of the book’s release, “An Important Jewelry Auction To Benefit The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation” sponsored by InStyle magazine, was held at Christie’s New York on September 26, 2002. While many esteemed jewelers donated pieces for the auction, including Boucheron, Bulgari, Cartier, Jar, L.T. Nakamura & Co., Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston, the most sought after gem offered in the sale was Elizabeth’s own emerald and diamond ring by Bulgari, given to her by Richard Burton—one of her most sentimental pieces. Leading up to the sale, an array of Elizabeth’s most famous and important jewels were displayed at Christie’s in New York and London.

Dame Elizabeth at the Christie's auction.