Long Live Elizabeth Taylor

The talented and violet eyed Elizabeth Taylor took her final leave yesterday, March 23, 2011. The enchanting Academy Award-winning American Actress was surrounded by those who loved her most during her last hours at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, including her four children, family and close friends. According to the medical professionals on scene, the sudden passing of Ms. Taylor was the result of congestive heart failure. 

Following the tragic loss of his legendary Mother, Taylor's Son Michael Wilding released the statement, "My Mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love. Her legacy will never fade, her spirit will always be with us, and her love will live forever in our hearts."

Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor will be fondly remembered by her children, close friends (Elton John was among the most publicly distraught over the loss of his great friend.) and in the hearts of fans world-wide for her extraordinary grace and generosity, humanitarian work and AIDS activism.With bright violet eyes and an on-screen presence that captured the hearts of film audiences, critics and eventually, eight different husbands, Liz Taylor embodied the strength, beauty and selflessness of a true icon.

 We will celebrate the gift of Elizabeth Taylor’s time on this earth with aglamorous remembrance. While the sensational actress was expressively fond of extraordinary jewelry, decadent diamonds and larger-than-life sapphire stones, she somehow managed to escape any claims made against the strength of her moral fiber.

No titles of superficiality or materially driven in mind or personality were placed upon the violet eyed beauty. Rather, she was awarded for her humanitarian efforts and praised for selfless acts to help suffering cultures. As far as Hollywood is concerned, this may be the last time such a success is made. Perhaps it was her qualities of ultimate grace and sincerity that she was not made to endure the media ridicule we see today among celebrities sporting elaborate jewels.

Behind her famously worn 33.19 carat Krupp diamond, the heart-shapedTaj-Mahal diamond necklace adorned with rubies and Arabic inscriptions on either side, and the legendary 69.42 carat Taylor-Burton Diamond, cut by Harry Winston and adorned in a pave diamond-set Cartier necklace, lies one of the greatest love stories of the 20th century.Twice-married husband and lover of over 20 years, Richard Burton had presented these famous diamonds as gifts for his love, Miss Elizabeth Taylor.

The famous Krupp diamond was given to Liz in 1968, and can be spotted on the lovely young actresses finger in films released in the late '60s and early '70s. In 1972 Elizabeth Taylor was presented with a heart-shaped diamond for her 40th birthday from Richard Burton, a stone commonly referenced as the 'Taj-Mahal'. Speaking on his purchase of the stone, Burton jovially admitted,"I would have liked to buy her the Taj-Mahal." The diamond known as the Taylor-Burton, a pear-shaped stone of 69.42carats, would receive the most publicity during Liz Taylor's infamous life-long 'Love Affair with Jewelry'.

The complex story of Burton came to acquire the infamous diamond once known only as "Cartier" is contradicted by nearly every involved source. We can be certain, however, that the rough stone of originally 240.80 carats was not easily acquired by the determined Richard Burton. With originating ownership by Harry Winston, the diamond was purchased by Mrs. Harriet Annenberg Ames, an American ambassador in London during the Nixon administration..

For personal reasons, Mrs. Annenberg Ames sent the illustrious sized stone to be auctioned in New York at Parke-Bernet Galleries. Following Burton's representative dropping out of the auction once the bidding had reached $1,000,000, pandemonium ensued as the auctioneer called the bidding parties to order. Robert Kenmore, Chairman of the Board of Kenmore Corporation, who represented Cartier Inc., was deemed the high-bidder and winner of the stone. The recorded cost of this victory for Cartier ended in the final paid sum of $1,050,000.

It was a final plea made to Robert Kenmore by a determined Richard Burton that finally cemented his achievement of acquiring the Taylor-Burton diamond, known only as the 'Cartier' prior to Richard's purchase. Depicted by observers to have been an engaging display of desperate, determined romantic conquest, Richard Burton continued feeding coins into a telephone in England until a final agreement was reached. In 1969, Elizabeth Taylor wore the Taylor-Burton diamond publicly for the first time to Princess Grace's 40th birthday party in Monaco.

There was a genuine once-in-a-lifetime love between Burton and Taylor.Their 20-years and two marriages together were full of great challenges,turbulence, passion, jealousy and infatuation. In 2010, Elizabeth Taylor spoke candidly of her relationship with Richard Burton in an interview with VanityFair. Among revealing a selection of love letters she'd received from him throughout the years, Miss Taylor offered a glimpse into their love affair, "Richard was magnificent in every sense of the word. From those first moments in Rome [on the set of Cleopatra] we were always madly and powerfully in love." 

She continued to wear the Krupp diamond ring he had given her in 1968, sporting the spectacular stone in her 2003 interview with Larry King. In 1978, Elizabeth Taylor had the Taylor-Burton diamond auctioned for $5,000,000, used to build a state-of-the-art hospital in Botswana, Southern Africa. Recognized for her advocacy in Aids research, Elizabeth Taylor was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1993. The AmericanFoundation for AIDS Research, for which Taylor was a long-time advocate, made the following statement in response to the news of her death,"She leaves a monumental legacy that has improved and extended millions of lives and will enrich countless more for generations to come."

In honorable memory, devote a small piece of your time today to celebrate the life of Miss Elizabeth Taylor. Her violet eyes are accented with jewelry by Bvlgari in the 1973 film, "Ash Wednesday," where you can catch a glimpse of her 50 carat sapphire 'sautoir' (necklace and pendant) and the sugar loaf sapphire ring by one of her favorite jewelry designers. Taylor wears a pair of classic natural pearl earrings in the film, also by Bvlgari.
The Academy-Award winning Actress notably enjoyed wearing her own jewelsin movies, and did so more than any other actress. Read about the backlash one Director received when he tried to halt such independent acts being taken in the late Elizabeth Taylor’s book, "My Love Affair With Jewelry."

Today, our deepest sympathies are extended to Taylor's children, family and friends. The mourning for this loss is felt across the nation and the world today. Elizabeth Taylor left a mark on this world most people only dare to dream of. In the deepest sadness, peace can be found in small celebrations. And Liz Taylor, we celebrate you. Today and forever. The legacy you've left on this earth will live on in the elegant infamy, the way you'd always dreamt that it would. 

Long live Elizabeth Taylor, a timeless icon of grace, gratitude and glamour. 

Alexandra Gulkin
Long Live Elizabeth Taylor
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Long Live Elizabeth Taylor

The Legacy of Liz: Grace, Gratitute and Glamour The unforgettably magnetic and poised Academy Award winning Actress, Elizabeth Taylor took her Read more
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