Taylor-Burton Diamond

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Weight 68 carats (13.6 g)
Cut Pear
Country of origin South Africa
Mine of origin Premier Diamond Mine
Date discovered 1966
Cut by Harry Winston
Original owner Harriet Annenberg Ames
Current owner Robert Mouawad

The Taylor-Burton Diamond is a diamond made famous when purchased by actor Richard Burton for his wife Dame Elizabeth Taylor in 1969, receiving worldwide publicity for its size and value.[1]


The original rough diamond was found in 1966 in the Premier Mine in South Africa, weighing 241 carats (48.2 g). It was cut by Harry Winston to 69.42 carats (13.884 g) in the shape of a pear.[1][2]


The diamond was originally owned by Harriet Annenberg Ames. It was subsequently purchased at auction by Robert Kenmore, owner of the luxury brand Cartier,[1] for a then record $1,050,000.[3] It is regarded as the world's first million-dollar diamond—although other stones may have previously changed hands privately for seven figures or more, this was the first one to do so at a public auction.

The sale of the diamond carried with it naming rights,[4] and it was named "The Cartier Diamond". The Cartier company placed the diamond into a diamond necklace.

Elizabeth Taylor's lawyer bid on her behalf at the auction. Cartier won the auction, and immediately Burton and Taylor contacted Cartier to purchase the diamond. Cartier parted with the diamond for a small premium (The couple is believed to have paid $1.1 million for the diamond) due to the great publicity that the sale generated, Burton and Taylor then being top movie stars and arguably the most famous couple in the world. Taylor wore it publicly on a necklace for the first time at Princess Grace of Monaco's 40th birthday celebration held in Monaco.[1][3] She also wore it to the Academy Awards in 1970.[2] At this time, it was known as the "Cartier-Burton Diamond",[5] and it was featured on the Here's Lucy episode "Lucy Meets the Burtons". The episode, which co-starred Taylor and Burton along with series headliner Lucille Ball, was aired on September 14, 1970 and inaugurated the third season.

Burton had earlier bought Taylor the 33-carat Krupp Diamond in 1968.[6] It cost $305,000.

After their divorce, Taylor auctioned the diamond in 1978 for $5,000,000, which was used to build a hospital in Botswana.[3][7] It was bought by Henry Lambert, a New York-based jeweler.

Its current owner is Robert Mouawad, who had the diamond recut to 68.0 carats (13.60 g).[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d The Taylor-Burton Diamond, by DiamonDiva
  2. ^ a b "Remembering Elizabeth Taylor: The Taylor-Burton Diamond, 1969". instyle.com. 
  3. ^ a b c d Famous Diamonds
  4. ^ Bragg, Melvyn (1988). Richard Burton: A Life. Boston: Little Brown & Co. ISBN 0-316-10595-3. 
  5. ^ "Fashion PhD". Elizabeth Taylor-Icon,Legend ...and Jewelery Expert. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "Famous Diamonds: The Taylor-Burton Diamond". Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Taylor-Burton Diamond". about.com. 

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