In Interview magazine Michael Stipe asks Courtney Love to tell her favorite Elizabeth Taylor stories. In the first, she gets ignored by Liz all night at Elton John’s birthday party, until Taylor came up to her, compared diamond rings, and said,
“I’m bigger than you.”
In the second, Carrie Fisher invites Love to Taylor’s Easter party. (FYI, Taylor is Carrie’s step-mother. It’s a long story –Google it.)
Love tells it…
“Carrie grabbed me and we snuck upstairs. As soon as we were at the Warhol of Liz Taylor, I started getting the shivers. I was like,
‘Fuck. This is gonna be crazy!‘
We got up the stairs and there was José Eber with his wig and his cowboy hat and he’s doing Elizabeth’s hair in the mirror of this ill-fitting, little bathroom. She’s got this Easter bonnet with all these artificial flowers on this beautiful, crazy frosted wig. I remember her eyes were so beautiful, but they were bloodshot.
She looked at Carrie and said,
‘Hey. It’s fucking Carrie.‘
By the bed, there was a lot of medicine. I was really marveling, looking at the medicine and trying to suss if there was anything I might like. Then her hand hovered above my head. She was again wearing the big fat diamond, I want to say the Taylor-Burton. She took her hand and she clacked on my head really fast and she said,
Then she went,
‘We like Courtney.‘
That’s it. That’s all I got. ‘We like Courtney,’ with this diamond real heavy on the top of my head. She was chastising me for looking for Oxy.”
Could you DIE!?
(Photos, Avalon; via Vulture)
The backstory on the Taylor-Burton Diamond…
Discovered in 1966, the massive rough stone was cut into a 69.42 carat pear-shaped gemstone by famed jeweler Harry Winston.
Harriet Annenberg Ames, sister to billionaire publisher Walter Annenberg, purchased the diamond in 1967. She said,
“I found myself positively cringing and keeping my gloves on for fear it would be seen. It sat in a bank vault for years. It seemed foolish to keep it if one could not use it. As things are in New York, one could not possibly wear it publicly.”
The stone was put up for auction on October 23, 1969. When Elizabeth Taylor heard about it, she had to see it, so it was flown to Gstaad, Switzerland for viewing, and then back to New York for the auction. Taylor’s husband, Richard Burton, had set his maximum bid at $1 million, and had his lawyer, Aaron Frosch, bidding via telephone from London.
Despite Burton’s efforts, Robert Kenmore of Kenmore Corporation, which is the parent company of Cartier jewelers, won the auction. Some other underbidders included jeweler Harry Winston, Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, and the Sultan of Brunei. The final price was $1,050,000, which translates to over $6 million today. (The previous record price for a diamond was $305,000, set in 1957.)
But Cartier didn’t own it for long. When Burton found out that he had been outbid, he was furious. He later wrote in his diary,
“I turned into a raving maniac and insisted that he (lawyer Jim Benton) get Aaron on the phone as soon as possible. Elizabeth was as sweet as only she could be and protested that it didn’t matter, that she didn’t mind if she didn’t have it, that there was more in life than baubles, that she would manage with what she had. The inference was that she would make do. But not me! I screamed at Aaron that bugger Cartiers, I was going to get that diamond if it cost me my life or 2 million dollars, whichever was the greater. For 24 hours the agony persisted and in the end I won. I got the bloody thing.”
The next day, the diamond was sold to Burton for $1.1 million. and named “The Cartier-Burton Diamond”, but it soon gained fame as the “Taylor Burton Diamond,” as Liz was the one who was wearing it.
Part of the agreement for Taylor’s pear shaped diamond was that it could be displayed in Cartier’s stores in Chicago and NYC. 6,000 people lined up to see it each day. (via Worthy)