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The Taylor-Burton Diamond

Updated on April 18, 2012
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Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

So many times, love is declared through jewelry. Diamonds are typically the gems chosen. What does it say when your man buys you the most expensive diamond in the world? Love forever? Maybe. Though the Taylor-Burton Diamond did not guarantee a forever marriage.


This colorless diamond is 68.07 carats and was at one time the most expensive diamond in the world. It is pear shaped meaning that one end is rounded and tapered off to a point much like that of a tear drop. It is a large diamond and rather heavy which means it needs to be set in platinum to avoid it falling out of its setting.

Original History

The Taylor-Burton Diamond was found in 1966 in the Premier Mine of South Africa 240.80 carats. That is almost four times the size it is now. The first owner, a New York jeweler cut the large diamond into two gems that could be used. He produced a 78 carat piece and a 162 carat diamond. Both of these were still in the rough and needed to be shaped and polished. The result of the 162 carat would later be the 69 carat Taylor-Burton Diamond. The jeweler then sold it to a woman who wore it but decided the large ring was too much for her. It was put on the market again.

This time, Cartier purchased it. For one day it was known as the Cartier diamond. The price? $1,050,000.

Taylor-Burton History

The very next day after Cartier purchased the diamond, Richard Burton, purchased it for $1.1 million dollars. It was a gift to his then wife Elizabeth Taylor. Through an agreement between Burton and Cartier, the diamond would be displayed at Cartier’s unless Ms. Taylor was using it.

Burton gave Taylor anything she wanted during their tumultuous marriage including the most expensive diamond in the world at that time. Discovering that the ring was too cumbersome, Burton and Taylor had Cartier set it in a necklace where it still resides today.

The relationship of these two stars was hot and cold for many years. After their divorce, Taylor married multiple more times. During one of the marriages, she sold the ring to finance her husband’s political career. This time it fetched $3 million.

The Years after Elizabeth Taylor

Richard Mouawad purchased the stone in 1978 from Taylor. He discovered that the rumors of her neglect of expensive jewelry was accurate and had it recut to its current size to retain the flawless grading.

After selling the diamond, Taylor found herself reunited with Burton briefly before their relationship turned sour again. During their second time as a couple, he bought her another ring to pledge his love. This one was only slightly more than 30 carats. He avoided the most expensive diamond of the day.

The name, Taylor-Burton Diamond, is still the name this pear shaped rock is called. The two famous Hollywood actors made a name for themselves in the movie industry, the romantic almanac, and the diamond world.

Colorless Diamonds

The colorless diamond is the most popular and known of the diamonds. This means there are no impurities and no extra elements present during the formation of the diamond to change its color. Conditions have to be perfect to get the perfect diamond.

Colorless diamonds are also the minority of diamonds. Just because a diamond is not colorless does not mean it is not worth much. Colored diamonds such as yellow, pink, and blue are worth millions on today’s markets and that would be just one of the gems.


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    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      What an astonishing piece of jewelry! It really is too big of a diamond for a ring. And it's clear as water. Amazing. The Taylor-Burton romance was THE romance of the 20th century. What an awesome gift!