Jewels to Shine in Upcoming ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood Auction
The Kruse GWS Auctions sale will include the replica “Taj Mahal” necklace Elizabeth Taylor made with Avon as well as a costume piece Marilyn Monroe wore.
“The Artifacts of Hollywood” sale is highlighting the personal collections of some of the era’s most glamorous women, as well as iconic musicians like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin and Whitney Houston.
The auction will feature a variety of personal memorabilia, including jewelry, clothing, purses, shoes, movie props, and more.
These are a few of the auction’s most interesting jewels.
Marilyn Monroe’s Rhinestone Choker Necklace
The 15-inch necklace, seen at the top of the article, was owned and worn by Marilyn Monroe. It’s made of silver with round- and cushion-shaped rhinestones.
It comes from the collection of her personal hairstylist, Sydney Guilaroff, who worked at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios for more than 40 years on more than 1,000 films, said the auction house.
Guilaroff was the first hairstylist to receive an on-screen credit in a film and was a confidante to many of the day’s stars, including Monroe, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, and Hepburn.
A number of celebrity-worn jewels from his collection are heading to the upcoming auction.
In a provenance letter, the late hairstylist wrote, “Marilyn gave me this costume ‘Weiss’ multi-shaped rhinestone choker necklace around 1954. No one has worn it since Marilyn.”
Albert Weiss was a notable costume jewelry designer, getting his start at costume jewelry manufacturer Coro in the 1930s before starting his own company in 1942, which is still around today.
There were no pre-sale estimates given for any of the items up for auction.
There are other jewels said to belong to Monroe up for sale, including another rhinestone necklace and a pair of rhinestone drop earrings.
Elizabeth Taylor’s Avon “Taj Mahal” Necklace
This necklace was given to Elizabeth Taylor in the early 1990s by cosmetics company Avon just before the company announced they would be partnering on a jewelry collection.
Well known for her outstanding jewels, Taylor helped the brand create costume replicas of some of her most famous pieces.
This necklace is the prototype for the reimagining of her “Taj Mahal” diamond necklace. She wore it for an Avon photoshoot.
The real “Taj Mahal” necklace, a gold, ruby and diamond Cartier creation Richard Burton gave to Taylor when she turned 40, sold for $8.8 million in 2011 as part of Christie’s record-setting sale of Taylor’s massive jewelry collection.
Taylor’s collection became the most popular of all Avon jewelry lines, continuing to sell well on secondary websites at high markups, said the auction house.
“The collection took nearly three years, as Elizabeth Taylor scrutinized every piece to make sure it was of the best quality,” it said. “Taylor had a hand in every facet of the manufacturing process and production to create the replicas of her cherished jewelry pieces.”
The necklace is accompanied by a seven-page letter from her friend, Ken Studdy, to whom Taylor gifted the piece in 2010.
Studdy said Taylor wore the necklace many times, including to dinner with Michael Jackson.
He said, “Taylor would regularly wear this necklace in replacement of her original as her Lloyd’s of London insurance policy stipulated that the necklace could only be worn for a select number of days each year and that she had to be followed by a team of armed guards, similar to the policy for her famous Taylor-Burton Diamond.”
Greta Garbo’s 1950s Rolex ‘Precision’ Watch
The star’s 9-karat yellow gold Rolex “Precision” watch, in working condition, is up for sale.
The back of the case is engraved with her initials, “GG.”
The watch’s provenance letter is courtesy of the son of Swedish watch collector Hjalmar Mattison.
Translated from Swedish, it reads, “It is hereby certified that this Rolex watch with ‘GG’ engraving belonged to Greta Garbo. My father Hjalmar Mattison worked as an accountant for a well-known director at Dramaten who was a close friend with Garbo, and through him managed to buy Garbo’s watch in the 1980s, meaning only a few years before Garbo passed away.”
Elvis Presley’s Many Jewels
Elvis Presley has a number of jewels up for sale at the upcoming auction, including multiple rings and a necklace.
A notable highlight is a 14-karat yellow gold “TCB” ring.
The ring will be accompanied by the original 7.56-carat VS2 round brilliant diamond and a GIA report.
A cubic zirconia was set in the ring while the diamond was being graded and is the stone seen in the image above. The halo of round-cut diamonds and accent diamonds have a total carat weight of 2.25.
The ring was worn by Elvis, who then gave it to gospel singer J.D. Sumner on stage in 1975 during the first night of a concert in Asheville, North Carolina, according to a statement of authenticity from Sumner prior to his passing.
The ring has hit the auction block before, garnering $440,625 in a 2020 sale held by Kruse GWS Auctions.
The auction house shares a long story about its provenance that would certainly be of interest to fans of “The King.”
The ring also comes with a letter from his late wife, Priscilla Presley, and a letter and sketches from jeweler Lowell Hayes.
The auction house describes the ring as “a once-in-a-lifetime piece and a must have for the serious Elvis collector as a piece of this magnitude may not surface again for many decades. This is arguably the most significant and well documented piece of Elvis’ jewelry on the planet, as even Graceland has not had a piece of this magnitude.”
There is other Elvis memorabilia up for auction, including a guitar, a jacket, a pair of glasses, and sheet music.
Audrey Hepburn’s Earrings
Two pairs of earrings belonging to Hepburn are heading to the auction block, a pair of gold-tone screw-back pinwheel earrings and a pair of faux pearl clip-on drop earrings.
Both pairs were given to the aforementioned hairstylist Guilaroff. He was Hepburn’s hairstylist for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” as well as other films.
Other items belonging to Hepburn up for auction include a gown and evening bags.
Ava Gardner’s Jewels
Guilaroff’s sizable collection also included jewelry belonging to actress Ava Gardner.
This pair of black and white rhinestone and faux pearl clip-on earrings were worn by Gardner in the 1980s, according to his provenance letter.
There is also a matching necklace and earrings set worn by Gardner. The gold-tone jewels are set with amber, brown, and green iridescent rhinestones.
No one has worn the jewels but Gardner, he said.
Jewelry Worn by Music Legends
In addition to silver-screen celebrities, the auction also will highlight legendary women in music, including Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, and Madonna.
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