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In 1991 Elizabeth Taylor (a.k.a ET) teamed up with Elizabeth Arden to create an exciting new perfume called “White Diamonds.”  As manager of the Diamond Information Center in New York City at that time, I was asked to find the jewelry for ET to wear in several print ads and a TV commercial, which was to be filmed on a vacant beach outside of Acapulco, in Mexico.  

Famed diamond manufacturer Louis Glick generously loaned me the most exquisite suite, comprised of a perfect white diamond necklace, valued at $4.5 million, and matching drop earrings, worth $1.5 million. No reliable U.S. shipping company would risk taking $6 million in diamonds into Mexico, so after the requisite insurance arrangements, I wrapped them up in a yellow plastic bag (who would guess?) and was off to Acapulco to meet the famed Elizabeth.  

White Diamonds AdsThe plot of the black and white commercial featured ET as a legendary movie queen in the 1950s.  Hanging out with a group of rich, handsome (of course!) card sharks, she offers to sweeten the pot with one of her diamond earrings.  “These have always brought me luck,” ET said nonchalantly, as she tossed the earring onto the table on the first take.

I, in the meanwhile, am at the edge of the set, shaking with fear that one of these diamonds could crack (and they can crack). Elizabeth Arden had made up a faux diamond suite for ET’s double to wear, if needed, and that got me thinking. The crew had been told not to talk to ET, but I took a deep breathe and said in a halting voice, “Miss Taylor, couldn’t you use the fake diamond earring?”  She looked up at me with some surprise, smiled like someone who was holding all the cards and responded, “I only play with real diamonds.”   There was nothing I could do or say.  I was numb, thinking of my future life in exile in South America.  I couldn’t possibly face Louis Glick if something happened to one of these very rare stones. The actors, feeling very sorry for me, kindly interceded by padding the hard table with dollars for the next take.  

Lynn Ramsey and Liz TaylorLuck was in my favor, and I was able to return the white diamonds intact several days later.  Before I left though, ET very nicely let me see the diamond ring that Richard Burton had given her.  She held out her small hand, and I looked into one of the world’s most famous diamonds.  It was like looking into infinity.  “It’s the Krupp Diamond,” ET said, briskly and with great pride, and then she turned around and walked away.

Liz Taylor with Krupp DiamondOn the last day of the shoot, ET was off in her helicopter, and I was on the beach, watching the set being packed up.  I put on the Louis Glick White Diamond suite, the diamonds now dancing in the setting sunlight. They didn’t exactly go with my Hawaiian shirt, but I still felt the magic.  I had spent four days in the presence of one of the greatest movie queens of our time, and we had shared a love—at least for a while—of white diamonds.    

 

 

 

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 151 - September 6032
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