A modern “Famous” diamond is the “Taylor Burton” Purchased in 1969 by Richard Burton for his wife at the time, Elizabeth Taylor.
This beautiful stone started life as part of a rough stone of 240.8 carats, owned by Harry Winston. he and his cleaver studied the rough for six months before actually cutting the diamond. The cutting day was televised. There was great interest because it was such a large stone, all wanted to know what would come out of it.
Two beautiful diamonds were created.The larger pear shaped one weighing about 75 carats and a smaller cut of 24 carats.
Harry Winston then sold the larger diamond to a Mrs. Harriet Annenburg Ames. She was fascinated with the stone but eventually her fear of being robbed overcame the fascination. The large diamond ring was allocated to a bank vault for the next two years. It was eventually sent to auction.. it was just too large to be worn as a ring in public.
October 1969, at auction in New York with the understanding that whomever bought it could name it.
There were many bidders, including Richard Burton.
When the stone reached the 1,000,000.00 dollar mark, Burton’s buyer dropped out and the stone was purchased for the amount of $1,000,050.00 by Robert Kenmore, chairman of the board for Cartier Inc.He immediately named the diamond “The Cartier”
Richard Burton was not about to let this diamond slip through his fingers – so calling from a pay phone in a hotel bar, in England, he bargained with Kenmore’s agent. All the patrons in the bar could hear his loud negotiating, as he kept dropping more coins into the phone slot.
In the end Burton won, by allowing Cartier to display the jewel in New York and Chicago. It now became the “Taylor-Burton” diamond.
It is said that Burton paid $1,100,000.00 for the diamond. He proclaimed ” If ever the public ever tired of seeing him and Liz, they would be able to sell off some baubles.”
When the diamond went on display in New York, at Cartier, more than 6000 people lined up right around the block, just for a glimpse of the beautiful stone. It had been reset as a pendent in a luxurious diamond necklace.
Elizabeth first wore the necklace to the 40th birthday party of Princess Grace of Monaco. It had been flown across the Atlantic, from New York to Nice, Italy in the company of two armed guards.
After her divorce from Richard Burton, in 1978, Elizabeth Taylor put the stone up for sale, with the proceed going to build a hospital in Botswana, Africa.
In 1979, a New York jeweler claimed he bought the diamond for $5,000,000.00, then sold it to its present owner Robert Mouawad, who had the stone slightly re cut. It now weighs 68.09 carats and has a slightly different shape than the original.
The Robert Mouawad Private Museum, located in Lebanon’s Beirut Central District, constitutes a perfect mix of artistic oriental and occidental cultures. It is a combination of objects of great value, be it unique collections of books, ceramics, historical columns, Pottery, ancient weapons, unique carpets or sophisticated Jewellery pieces, objets d’art and rare precious stones.
By choosing to restore a 110 year old palace and turn it into a private museum dedicated to works of art and to his own personal collection of jewelry , Robert Mouawad has shown both courage and foresight while remaining true to tradition.
A visitor to the palace is immediately carried back to the romantic epoch of oriental pomp and luxury, the era of subtle beauty, perfect harmony and good taste.