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Jewelry pieces bring Auburn close to the stars

Display at Golden Swann includes items that belonged to Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne and Tony Curtis
By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne and Tony Curtis were great movie icons whose seemingly larger-than life lives played out a world apart from Auburn. But — at least for a few days — pieces of jewelry from their glamorous past are on display in Downtown. The items – on loan from The Singer Collection estate jewelry company in New York — arrived at The Golden Swann Monday and will be there through Thursday. For Golden Swann co-owner Margareta Swann, the most fun part of having the pieces in the store is the personal connection. “It’s like a little piece of Liz,” she said. The collection includes a peridot bracelet and earrings, Victorian cameo earrings with carved peacocks and an 18-carat diamond and enamel bracelet from Taylor. A watch with a well-worn leather strap was Wayne’s. “It says 5 o’clock all the way around because he’d like to say it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere — so we can have a cocktail,” Swann said Monday. Cufflinks that also belonged to Wayne have an etching of the Alamo and each has two diamond stars of Texas. A small 18-karat gold cigarette box from was a gift from Yul Brynner to Mia Farrow. On the inside lid is an engraving of a musical note and an inscription that reads “For a wonderful friend.” Also from Farrow is a gold waist chain. There’s a 14-karat gold pocket watch — a gift from Jack Lemmon to Tony Curtis, dating from the 1960s when they starred in “The Great Race.” Lemmon’s inscription reads, “Presented to Leslie Gallant III, given by Leslie Gallant II, given to him by Leslie Gallant I.” Curtis played “The Great Leslie” Gallant III in the movie. And there’s a ruby necklace that belonged to Bette Midler. The pieces are for sale and owning something that once belonged to a legend doesn’t come cheap. The most expensive is Taylor’s diamond and enamel bracelet — at $57,895. The peridot bracelet is $36,750 and the earrings are $36,250. The cameo earrings are $34,950. The Duke’s watch is $32,250. The least expensive is Farrow’s cigarette box at $16,725. Swann’s favorite is Taylor’s cameo earrings. “She wore bold jewelry and I like bold jewelry,” Swann said. “I’d wear the Duke’s watch, just for kicks. It’s from the 1950s and they made smaller men’s watches then.” The Golden Swann receives a special collection of estate jewelry from Singer once a year. Last year’s display included several items that belonged to Bob Hope. All four Hope pieces sold in Auburn, store-co-owner Ben Asgharzadeh said. “Some people follow these pieces and buy because they are collectors,” he said. “It’s an honor for us.” Among the visitors to the store Monday was Marcello Nolivo, co-owner of Downtown’s The Club Car. “I can’t believe they are in Auburn,” he said about the display. “…It’s a big thing for Auburn.” Nolivo’s favorites were the two watches. “I like John Wayne and Tony Curtis,” he said. “I watched all their movies when I was a kid.” Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com.