(CBS/AP) Actress Elizabeth Taylor was well-known for her glamorous baubles. Now, the Taylor estate is auctioning some of her most famous jewels to the public, and sales are expected to bring in $30 million. The Christie's auction will take place in New York on Dec. 13 through Dec. 14.
"These are the top jewels that Elizabeth Taylor received from the great loves of her life, Mike Todd and Richard Burton," Christie's jewelry expert Rahul Kadakia said. "They're from moments in life that were very dear to her."
Taylor expressed her wish to have her jewelry auctioned off after her death in her 2002 book, "My Love Affair with Jewelry." "I never, never thought of my jewelry as trophies," she wrote in the memoir that details where and when she got most of her jewelry. "I'm here to take care of them and to love them. When I die and they go off to auction I hope whoever buys them gives them a really good home." Taylor died in March 2011 at the age of 79.
Included in the lot is the famed 33.19 carat diamond platinum ring, known as the Elizabeth Taylor diamond, from ex-husband Richard Burton. Burton purchased the ring at an auction in 1968 for $305,000. It is expected to bring in $2.5 million to $3 million. "Elizabeth Taylor used to refer to it as her baby, and wore it as much and as often as she could," said Kadakia.
Also up for auction is a 16th-century La Peregrina, one of the largest and most symmetrically perfect pear-shaped pearls in the world, which Burton purchased for Taylor in 1969 as a Valentine's Day gift. Burton purchased the pearl for $37,000, outbidding a member of the Spanish royal family. The pearl was then incorporated into a diamond and ruby necklace design by Cartier, which was inspired by the famous Velazquez portraits of Spain's Queen Margarita and Queen Isabel. It is estimated to fetch $2 million to $3 million at the Christie's auction.
Eighty of the most famous pieces will be sold on Dec. 13. The following day, 189 more gems will be sold. About 500 pieces of Taylor's costume jewelry will be sold online at the same time. The entire collection will be exhibited from Dec. 3-10 at Christie's New York galleries. A portion of the proceeds from the exhibition admissions and publications related to the sales will be donated to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
Christie's also will be selling the star's haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion, accessories, 20th-century decorative arts, and film memorabilia from her Bel Air home on Dec. 14-16. Details have not been released.