As lyricised by Drake, 'I've loved, and I've lost... What's a life with no fun?' The iconic Elizabeth Taylor experienced it all and still had a smile on her face: ten times engaged, eight times married, seven times divorced, once widowed. During that time, she amassed some of the most iconic jewellery to grace the celebrity world.
Let's take a look at her 10 Iconic Engagement Rings and the beaus that gave them to her:
1. William Pawley Jr
U.S. Army Pilot William Pawley Jr was Elizabeth Taylor's first fiancé. In 1949, he proposed to the young, lovestruck teenager when she was 17 years old, giving her a white cushion cut diamond engagement ring that would be the start of a stunning collection amassed over her 79 years.
She was young, in love and expressed it through her flair for writing love letters to her 'beloved Bill', calling it her "first mature love". Pawley went on to sell the letters at an online auction, reaching just over $45,000.
Her dreams of becoming a Hollywood actress cut their love story short, with Taylor not wanting to become a homemaker, and who could blame her? As time would tell, the limelight would always be on her horizon.
2. Conrad Hilton
Conrad Hilton was the first of Elizabeth Taylor's seven husbands. In 1950, the twenty-four-year-old heir to Hilton hotels asked a young Elizabeth Taylor for her hand in marriage––proposing with a four-carat platinum diamond engagement ring. MGM organised the wedding, and on May 6, 1950, at eighteen, she wed her beau in a Beverly Hills church. Eight months later, the young couple divorced, with Taylor noting Hilton's drinking and abusive behaviour.
3. Michael Wilding
In February 1952, Elizabeth Taylor married British actor Michael Wilding. Twenty years her senior, he proposed with a sizable sapphire and diamond engagement ring. The couple had two sons, Michael Howard and Christopher Edward but later divorced in 1957.
4. Mike Todd
In 1957 Film Producer Mike Todd proposed to then twenty-four-year-old Elizabeth Taylor with a striking 29.4-carat emerald cut Cartier engagement ring. They were married in Mexico on February 2, 1957.
While Richard Burton is Taylor's most famous husband, throughout her memoirs, it's known that Mike Todd was ultimately the love of her life. For him, she fell hard. However, their love affair sadly ended when Todd's private plane, The Liz, crashed on March 22, 1958, killing all onboard, barely a year after marriage.
In her memoir, My Love Affair With Jewellery, Elizabeth Taylor shared an exchange between her and her late husband, producer Mike Todd:
"When Mike gave me this jewel, he said to me: 'You are my queen, and I think you should have a tiara.'"
And so she did––with Todd gifting his glamorous wife a diamond antique tiara to wear to a party at Coconut Grove the day before the Golden Globes ceremony on February 28, 1957.
The iconic and highly desired tiara sold at a Christie's auction, initially valued at US$80,000, and later sold to a private buyer for US$4,226,500.
5. Eddie Fisher
Next up was Eddie Fisher, singer and best friend of Taylor's late husband, Mike Todd. She was still wearing the ring given to her by her late husband, when Fisher instead officiated their engagement with a forty-carat diamond bracelet with a staggering fifty diamonds. The pair were married on May 12, 1959, and remained married until 1962, when Taylor started working on the set of Cleopatra––it is here that she met Richard Burton.
6. Richard Burton
Of all her suitors, Richard Burton never actually proposed to Taylor with an engagement ring. Despite having been gifted many of her iconic jewellery pieces, including the 33.19-carat Krupp Diamond in 1968.
7. John Warner
In 1976, while wearing a purple turban and a coat of silver fox, Elizabeth Taylor wed future Senator John Warner after adorning her left hand with an engagement ring of rubies, emeralds and diamonds. Set in a halo design, the prominent red ruby encircled by dazzling diamonds was Taylor's first coloured engagement ring. In 1982, after being elected to the Senate, Taylor divorced Warner, finding her role as a politician's wife lonely.
8. Victor Luna
In 1983, Victor Luna proposed to Elizabeth Taylor with an ample 16 Carat Sapphire Engagement Ring, though they were never married.
9. Dennis Stan
Similarly, Dennis Stan didn't go on to marry Elizabeth Taylor after having proposed in 1985 with an amethyst engagement ring. However, they did remain close friends.
10. Larry Fortensky
Larry Fortensky was a construction worker and Elizabeth Taylor's seventh and last husband. They met while undergoing medical treatment at the Betty Ford Centre in 1988, Taylor having contracted pneumonia. After proposing with a simple pavé diamond band, the couple married at Neverland Ranch, the home and amusement park of Taylor's close friend and singer, Michael Jackson. The marriage lasted five years.
Fortensky and Taylor sold their wedding photos to People magazine for one million dollars after their nuptials. They used this money to establish the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) in 1991, an organisation to raise funds and awareness to fight HIV and AIDS while providing care, love and moral support to vulnerable patients.
Diamond Jewellery. It's a Love Affair.
After their divorce, Taylor once said, "I'm through with marriage, but I'm not through with men — that wouldn't be realistic."
And whilst her marriages may have ended, her love affair with expensive jewellery went on.
Insure Your Icon
As famous for her proposals as she was for her movies, British-born actress Elizabeth Taylor married an impressive eight times, twice to the same man and the notable love of her life, Mike Todd.
Once quoted as saying, "I couldn't just have a romance; it had to be marriage",––and with ten proposals under her antique diamond tiara, the prolific bride amassed an expensive awe-inspiring collection of brilliant jewellery.
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