Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, February 27, 2015

Elizabeth Taylor's Diamond Dispute

DiamondsThe estate of Elizabeth Taylor is currently in a dispute with Christie’s auction house over the actress’s heart-shaped “Taj Mahal” diamond, which is set inside a ruby border of a pendant given to Taylor by then-husband Richard Burton in 1972 for her 40th birthday. 

In 2011, the auction house sold the piece of jewelry for $8.8 million to an anonymous buyer following Taylor’s death.  The buyer demanded the sale be canceled months later based on the belief that the stone was not from the Mughal period.  According to the lawsuit filed by trustees of Taylor’s estate, Christie’s canceled the sale even though the auction house never guaranteed the age of the diamond, only that it was of Indian origin. 

Court documents indicate that Christie’s had demanded the trustees return more than $7 million it received from the sale, while the trustees allege Christie’s violated its agreement to auction off the estate and did so only to keep relations with a “VIP customer.”  The trustees further claim they have not received money for other items that were auctioned.  All proceeds from the auction went to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

See Taryn Ryder, Elizabeth Taylor’s $8 Million Diamond Drama, Yahoo, Feb. 26, 2015.


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