The Cartier Ruby suite, one of many expensive presents that Mike Todd gave to Elizabeth. This suite composing of a bracelet, necklace and earrings was given to her just as she was swimming laps in the pool - wearing a tiara! - at La Fiorentina in 1957.
“When Mike gave me the rubies I was pregnant with Liza. We had rented a villa, La Fiorentina, just outside Monte Carlo near St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, about three months into our marriage. The most beautiful house you’ve ever seen. Actually, I rented it twice - once with Mike and once with Richard. I was in the pool, swimming laps at our home, and Mike came outside to keep me company. I got out of the pool and put my arms around him, and he said, "Wait a minute, don’t joggle your tiara.” Because I was wearing my tiara in the pool! He was holding a red leather box, and inside was a ruby necklace, which glittered in the warm light. It was like the sun, lit up and made of red fire. First, Mike put it around my neck and smiled. Then he bent down and put matching earrings on me. Next came the bracelet. Since there was no mirror around, I had to look into the water. The jewelry was so glorious, rippling red on blue like a painting. I just shrieked with joy, put my arms around Mike’s neck, and pulled him into the pool after me. It was a perfect summer day and a day of perfect love.“
Elizabeth Taylor (pictured with Richard Burton in the second and third pictures) photographed by Henry Clarke in 1967 at a rented villa, La Fiorentina, in St. Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France. Assuming that it is still there - and open - I intend to visit this villa one day!