Elizabeth Taylor's $8 Million Diamond Drama

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·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
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Elizabeth Taylor (Getty Images)
Elizabeth Taylor (Getty Images)

Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but they can also come with a lot of drama.

The estate of Elizabeth Taylor is in a dispute with Christie's auction house over the actress's heart-shaped "Taj Mahal" diamond, which is set inside a ruby border of a pendant given to Taylor by then-husband Richard Burton in 1972 for her 40th birthday.

A look at the 'Taj Mahal' (HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
A look at the 'Taj Mahal' (HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2011, the New York auction house sold the 17th century piece of jewelry for $8.8 million to an anonymous buyer following Taylor's death. The original owner of the diamond was believed to be Shah Jahan, from the Mughal Empire, who built the Taj in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

The Los Angeles Times reports the buyer demanded the sale be canceled months later based on his or her belief that the stone was not from the Mughal period.

Per the lawsuit filed by trustees of Taylor's estate, Christie's canceled the sale even though the auction house never guaranteed the age of the diamond, only describing it as being of Indian origin.

According to legal papers, Christie's has demanded that the trustees return more than $7 million it received from the sale, while the trustees allege Christie's violated its agreement to auction off the estate and did so only to keep relations with a "VIP customer."

The trustees also claim they haven't received money for other items that were supposedly auctioned off. All proceeds from the auction went to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

A spokesperson for Christie's says the auction house "was pleased to create a landmark auction event on behalf of the Elizabeth Taylor Trust that produced over $183.5 million in proceeds for the beneficiaries of the Trust the friends and family of Elizabeth Taylor."

The statement said the suit involves the auction house "seeking the return of a small portion of these proceeds due to the cancellation of a single item from that sale, and Christie’s looks forward to a speedy resolution of this matter."

An attorney representing the estate of Elizabeth Taylor declined to comment.