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Christie's Auction House Sued After Not Selling Elizabeth Taylor's Diamond

The trustees of Elizabeth Taylor's estate have filed a lawsuit against Christie's due to a couple disputes over some high priced auction items. The late Taylor's jewelry collection was acclaimed as legendary. The actress, businesswoman, and fragrance mogul, amassed a fortune in jewels throughout her life, a treasure trove that sold for over $150 million after her death.

The primary issue involves a $9 million diamond that was rumored to have been owned by a Mughal emperor from the 1600s (but was not listed as such by Christie's). In addition to this rumored piece, another $3 million Bulgari ring is also at issue.

What's the Beef With the Bling?

The trustees are seeking to hold the auction house accountable for not protecting their interests in the sale of the jewelry. Essentially, when the buyer of the $9 million dollar diamond pendant learned the rumors were not true, Christie's sought to reverse the sale to please the buyer. The trustees believe the sale should not have been reversed, and they have suffered an economic injury as a result of the reversal. Additionally, the trustees are asserting that Christie's breached their duties to them when they led buyers to believe the rumors about the diamond.

When it comes to the Bulgari ring, valued at nearly $3 million, the trustees are alleging that the proceeds from its sale have been wrongfully withheld by Christie's. Meanwhile, Christie's appears to assert that the proceeds are withheld as payment for their services in auctioning off the other items. However, in addition to the proceeds from the ring, the trustees allege that proceeds from five other auction items, as well as the tickets sales and related exhibition proceeds were also wrongfully withheld.

This Feels Like Déjà-vu...

If you're feeling like you've heard about all of this before, that's because this case was originally filed two years ago in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles case made nearly all the exact same allegations, however, it was soon dismissed with the parties agreeing for the case to be filed and heard in New York.

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