Elizabeth Taylor's Bvlgari Necklace Is Now Larger Than Life

·2 min read
Photo credit: Andrew Simoneaux
Photo credit: Andrew Simoneaux

An art installation at Gallery Orange in New Orleans will make viewers stop in their tracks. Why? It's an overwhelming (truly) replication of the emerald-and-diamond Bvlgari necklace that Richard Burton gifted to Elizabeth Taylor—an avid collector of jewelry in her own right—while filming Cleopatra in Rome in 1963.

The piece, which runs almost 15 feet tall by 12 feet wide and is composed of 10 different panels, was dreamed up and created by South African artist Kurt Pio. Pio has re-created loose gemstones in his work before, but never worked on such a grand scale or replicated an entire piece of jewelry. The piece took more than two years to come to fruition, and each panel boasts three to four layers of gesso that are painted with acrylics.

Photo credit: Andrew Simoneaux
Photo credit: Andrew Simoneaux

"My aim was to make something large, taking something familiar and blow it out of scale, to invite the viewer to look again," explains Pio. "I wanted the viewer's heart to pause, their breath to stop, and their eyes to dilate as they stood in front of this piece. I wanted to try to emulate the same feeling Richard Burton upon seeing this piece for the first time, and the excitement he had as he gifted it to Elizabeth Taylor. I [also] wanted the viewer to try to feel the feeling that Elizabeth Taylor had upon receiving such a gift. It is about love, it is about passion, and it is about the two people that are actually just like you and me, sharing a magical moment in life together."

Photo credit: Courtesy of Gallery Orange
Photo credit: Courtesy of Gallery Orange

The Elizabeth Taylor Bvlgari necklace installation on view at the Gallery Orange will transport one back in time to one of the most obsessed-over and iconic love affairs in recent history.

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