Jewelry makes life brighter! Elizabeth Taylor knew this first-hand. During her reign in Hollywood, the actress gathered one of the most impressive and expensive precious collections in the world. It was brought to the hammer in December 2011, nine months after the Queen’s death. The jewelry of the French House of Van Cleef & Arpels made up about one-fifth of the legendary assemblage — there was a ring with a 8.25 ct Burmese ruby, a sautoir with amethysts and kunzites, and earrings with cognac diamonds. But perhaps one of the most amazing works of the brand, owned by the actress, was a Barquerolles choker, better known as a “Granny necklace”.
The young Granny
Taylor became a grandmother very early — at the tender age of 38. Good news found her in Monte Carlo. There the floating house of the Taylor-Burton couple — the Kalizma yacht — was anchored just a few hundred meters away from the Van Cleef & Arpels boutique. Thus, wiping the tears of happiness from the face of his beloved wife, Barton took her hand and led her on a tortuous road uphill to give her a “granny” gift. In recognition of the actress, when she saw the Barquerolles, her heart pounded like castanets — the luxurious transformable piece with a head of a grinning lion could be worn as a choker, and could also be broken into two bracelets and a brooch.
The museum collection of Van Cleef & Arpels
The necklace spent forty years in Taylor’s collection. Then, in December 2011, it returned to the assemblage of Van Cleef & Arpels. The French House paid no less than $902,500 for the piece. Today it is part of the brand’s museum brood and travels around the world as an object of various exhibitions.