To celebrate her 40th birthday in 1972, Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor a jewel with a history.
The heart-shaped diamond called the Taj Mahal was once owned by the emperor Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal in India), inscribed with the words “eternal love” and given to his favorite wife in 1627.
It’s a fabulous story — but it may be just a tall tale.
In 2011, the Taj Mahal diamond was sold by the Taylor estate through Christie’s to an anonymous buyer for an impressive $8.8 million, many times the original $500,000 it was expected to fetch.
But months later, the buyer demanded a refund after determining that the Taj Mahal diamond was not from the 17th century.
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In a recent lawsuit, the Taylor estate fired back that it never guaranteed the age of the diamond, so returning the money it was paid is out of the question. It is suing Christie’s for breach of contract and wants a full accounting of the Taylor auction.
Elizabeth and Richard at their wedding in March 1964. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
However, a rep for the famed auction house notes to 'Closer' that it raised “$183.5 million in proceeds” from the sale of Liz’s personal items, so the dispute over the Taj Mahal is a comparatively small portion of that successful sale, adding, "Christie's looks forward to a speedy resolution of this matter."
To read the full story on Elizabeth Taylor, pick up the new issue of 'Closer Weekly,' on newsstands now!
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