New York: Elizabeth Taylor’s dog almost ate her world-famous La Peregrina pearl — which sold at auction this past week for a record 11.8 million dollars —just moments after she got it as a Valentine’s gift from husband Richard Burton.
“Twenty minutes after she put it on, she lost it,” the New York Post quoted Ward Landrigan, the former head of Sotheby’s jewelry division who sold the 55.95-carat pearl to Burton for 37,000 dollars in 196, as saying.
After Burton bought the bauble for Taylor, Landrigan travelled from New York to Las Vegas, where he was picked up in a white Rolls- Royce at the airport to deliver the precious cargo to the glamorous couple at a Caesars Palace suite “the size of three tennis courts.”
“They asked what I wanted to drink,” recalled Landrigan, who’d sold Burton the 33.19-carat Krupp diamond a year earlier.
“I asked what they were having, and they said salty dogs, which is vodka and clam juice,” he stated.
Landrigan presented the pearl and was chatting with Burton while Taylor left to try it on. She “came back running, showing her cleavage and saying, ‘Ward! I’ve lost the pearl!’
“The room had pink shag carpeting, and I was crawling past a settee when I saw one of [Taylor’s] two Lhasa apsos, and I heard the crunch. I said, ‘Liz, I know where the pearl is,’ ” Landrigan revealed.
The pampered pooch apparently wanted the treasure for a quick snack.
Landrigan, who owns fine-jewellery company Verdura, says Liz grabbed the dog and put her hand into its mouth.
“She got the dog to spit it out. I was afraid it cracked because pearls do,” he told us, adding that it suffered only a couple of scratches.
Taylor then had Cartier make a diamond-and-ruby necklace for the pearl.
The full piece was auctioned this past week at Christie’s and sold to an anonymous buyer.