Monday, November 5, 2012


Talk about gem lust. Here's actor Richard Burton licking his chops after a conquest (from his diaries, published this week by Yale University Press):

[November 1969]
Saturday 1st, Gstaad I bought the ring for Elizabeth. I had set a 'lid' on it of one million dollars if thou pleasest and Cartier outbid me by $50,000...bugger Cartiers, I was going to get that diamond if it cost me my life or 2 million dollars whichever was the greater. [The next day Burton negotiated with Cartier to buy the stone.For 24 hours the agony persisted and in the end I won. I got the bloody thing. For $1,100,000...It turns out that one of my rivals was Ari Onassis but he chickened at $700,000. But apart from the fact that I am a natural winner, I wanted that diamond because it is incomparably lovely. And it should be on the loveliest woman in the world. I would have had a fit if it went to Jackie Kennedy or Sophia Loren or Mrs. Huntingdon Misfit of Dallas, Texas....

Postscript: After the couple divorced in 1978, Taylor auctioned the 69.42 carat stone (known as the Taylor-Burton Diamond); Taylor reportedly earmarked the $5 million proceeds from the sale to help build a hospital in Botswana.

Shoulder to shoulder: Richard and Elizabeth
 17 November 1969
(Courtesy Yale University Press)


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