It was a love for the ages. Or so it seemed for a while. It was definitely one for the history books! When Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton got together, both were married to others. Liz to Eddie Fisher and Richard to Sybil Williams. But apparently theirs was a love not to be denied. And thank goodness because just wait until you see the jewelry.
Their romance sparked on set as they were both filming Cleopatra in 1962. They didn’t exactly hide it. In fact, they didn’t really hide it at all. They were photographed by paparazzi while on a yacht in Ischia – photos that confirmed the rumors of their affair. It’s been said that those photos marked the turning point where celebrities private lives were no longer entirely private and were now fodder for the press. Be that as it may, the affair landed them in hot water.
The Vatican was having none of it and condemned the couple for “erotic vagrancy”, going so far as to request that the US Congress block the two from entering the country (one assumes they mean Italy, but The Vatican is a municipality all unto itself, so who’s to say). It also makes you wonder how Eddie Fisher was feeling about all of this. But alas, he could cast no stones, as he’d done the same in becoming involved with Liz to begin with.
With Liz’s divorce from Eddie final as of March 6, 1964, she waited a whopping nine days before marrying Burton in a private ceremony at the Ritz Carlton in Montreal. Richard proposed initially not with a diamond stunner (that would come later) but with a platinum-set Bulgari pendant featuring an 18.61 carat emerald surrounded by diamonds, that could be detached and worn as a brooch. Burton famously said, “The only Italian word Elizabeth knows is Bulgari.”
Dubbed Liz and Dick by the media, the two starred in 11 films together and were the Kardashians of their day, living a lavish jet-set lifestyle filled with spending on clothes, jewels, cars, food, liquor, a yacht, a jet, and furs, all the while being hounded by photographers and paparazzi at every step. The jewelry was spectacular – Burton must have worked part of each year just to support his gift giving. There was the Krupp Diamond (referred to by Liz as “My baby”), the La Peregrina Pearl (with ties to royalty, but not the only pieces to have such ties), and the Taylor-Burton diamond, just to name a few.
Liz and Dick divorced the first time in June of 1974 after what could only be described as a tumultuous marriage (if you’ve been reading along for the entire Liz segment, there seems to be a pattern here). But by October of 1975, they had re-married, only to get divorced again in July of 1976.
Liz did go on to say later in life that the men that followed Richard were merely there to hold her coat for her and more companions than true loves. We’ll get to the last two soon enough, but for now, I want to know which piece from Richard is your favorite (and I didn’t even have enough room in this post to show them all). Drop me a line in the comments below to let me know.