×

Elizabeth Taylor’s Estate Sues Christie’s Again Over ‘Taj Mahal’ Diamond

An on-again-off-again legal battle over a diamond that belonged to Elizabeth Taylor is back on again, as the late actress’s estate filed suit Thursday in New York against Christie’s auction house.

The heart-shaped “Taj Mahal” diamond was a gift from Richard Burton to Taylor on her 40th birthday. It was among the vast jewelry and art collection sold off by Christie’s for $183.5 million after Taylor’s death in 2011.

The diamond sold to an anonymous bidder for $8 million. Months later, the buyer demanded to cancel the sale, apparently upon learning there was some doubt as to whether it was in fact owned by Shah Jahan, the 17th century emperor who built the Taj Mahal.

Christie’s sought to rescind the sale, but the trust that oversees Taylor’s estate refused to return the proceeds. The trust alleges that the auction house was not obliged to cancel the sale, as it never guaranteed that the emperor had owned the diamond. The trust contends that Christie’s was instead doing a favor for the buyer — a valued client.

The trust alleges that Christie’s has failed to turn over proceeds from the $2.9 million sale of a Bulgari ring in an effort to “strong-arm” it into refunding the sale of the diamond.

The trust filed a federal suit over the matter in 2015. The two sides later agreed to suspend the litigation so that the issues could be handled in mediation.

“Both parties believe the other owes them money as a result of the auction,” Christie’s said in a statement. “We have been discussing this matter for some time. The Trust apparently decided to cease discussions and instead pursued legal action without notice. Christie’s believes it is unfortunate that this issue cannot be resolved through mediation, especially given the success of the sale held for the Trust’s benefit.”

The trust alleges it still has not received payment for several other items that sold at auction, including silver-plated Girandole ear clips, a pink layered tulle evening gown, and a brown evening bag by Valentino.

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial and Verdict

    Hollywood Reacts to Harvey Weinstein Verdict: 'I Hope the Handcuffs Are Tight'

    Harvey Weinstein, once regarded as one of the most influential forces in the film industry, was found guilty of committing a “criminal sexual act” and third-degree rape on Monday morning. He was acquitted on two counts of predatory sexual assault. The verdict comes two years after more than a dozen women accused Weinstein of sexual [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial and Verdict

    Time's Up Calls Harvey Weinstein Guilty Verdict a 'New Era of Justice'

    Time’s Up, the anti-sexual harassment advocacy group launched by Hollywood celebrities, has issued a statement on Harvey Weinstein being found guilty. “This trial — and the jury’s decision today — marks a new era of justice, not just for the Silence Breakers, who spoke out at great personal risk, but for all survivors of harassment, [...]

  • Warner Records Promotes Norva Denton to

    Warner Records Promotes Norva Denton to Senior VP of A&R

    Norva Denton has been promoted to Senior Vice President of A&R for Warner Records, the company announced today. Denton is based at the label’s Los Angeles headquarters and reports to label CEO and co-chairman Aaron Bay-Schuck. “Norva is the perfect fit for our revitalized A&R department, as he brings youthful energy, solid relationships, and a [...]

  • Simon Cowell Hollywood Walk of Fame

    Simon Cowell Drives Into Kids Space With 'Wishfits' Book Series

    Music and TV producer Simon Cowell and publisher Hachette Children’s Group have announced plans for a new series based on an original property written by Cowell and his six-year-old son, and developed on the online platform Tongal. Entitled “Wishfits,” the seven-book series will follow a number of hybrid animals created by the multi-hyphenate producer behind [...]

  • media stocks - wall-street

    Disney, Amazon, ViacomCBS Shares Hit as Stock Market Tumbles Amid Coronavirus Fears

    Fears of the Coronavirus spreading across the world sent major stock indices tumbling on Monday morning. Shares of Disney and Amazon were down more than 4% in early trading as reports that the deadly virus has hit South Korea and Italy spooked investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 900 points, or [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content