Elizabeth Taylor's diamonds go on display

Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor's fans are being given a chance to see her extraordinary collection of jewellery, art and fashion, including her famous diamonds.

The Elizabeth Taylor diamond, La Peregrina pearl and dresses from leading designers including Versace and Chanel will be on show alongside works of art by the likes of Van Gogh and Renoir.

The film star's collection will be exhibited at Christie's, London, before being auctioned in New York and London.

The late Oscar-winning actress's haul of jewellery alone is expecting to fetch upwards of US$30 million (NZ$38.7m).

Auctioneers are yet to estimate the sale price of the total collection.

Her famous jewellery and fashion collections will go under the hammer in New York in December, with her art up for sale in London in February.

Highlights include the sunflower yellow silk dress she wore when she married her Cleopatra co-star Richard Burton in 1964.

It is expected to sell for up to US$60,000.

The dress was made by Oscar-winning costume designer Irene Sharaff, who created her outfits for the historical epic.

Burton gave her much of the jewellery after they met on the set of the film.

The actor, who played Mark Antony, presented her in 1968 with the Elizabeth Taylor diamond, which is expected to sell for up to US$3.5m.

The British-American actress wore it almost every day.

During their first marriage, Oscar-winning actor Burton famously outbid a member of the Spanish royal family to present her with one of the most historically important pearls in the world in 1969 - La Peregrina.

The 203 grain pearl, equivalent to 55 carats, is expected to fetch up to US$3m.

The screen couple did not shy away from spending their fortunes.

Also for sale are "the ping-pong diamonds" that Burton gave to Taylor after he promised to buy her a diamond if she could win 10 points from him in a game of table tennis.

They could sell for up to US$7000.

Marc Porter, chairman of Christie's Americas, said: "This is without a doubt the greatest private collection of jewellery ever assembled in one place, and Christie's is honoured to have been entrusted with the global tour of the collection this fall [autumn], and the sale of the collection in its entirety this December."

Highlights from Taylor's art collection, which will be sold in the UK, include the 1889 Vincent Van Gogh painting Vue De L'Asile Et De La Chapelle De Saint-Remy, which is expected to fetch up to £7m (NZ$14m).

The collection of paintings includes a rare self-portrait by Edgar Degas, which Christie's estimate will sell for up to £450,000.


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