A pearl owned by Dame Elizabeth Taylor sold for $11.8 million at auction yesterday (13.12.11).

The 50.6 carat Jewel - named La Peregrina which was suspended from a necklace featuring diamonds and rubies by Cartier - was expected to make $2-3 million at the auction at Christie's in New York, but ended up going for four times the estimate.

The pearl belonged to a eight Spanish kings from 1582 until 1808, and was purchased for the late 'Cleopatra' star by her husband Richard Burton in 1969.

Other items belonging to the actress - who died of congestive heart failure in March 2011 at the age of 79 - were also at the auction including an emerald and diamond necklace by Bulgari which sold for $6.1 million, and a Van Cleef Arpels diamond ring which went for $2.3 million.

Brooches, earrings and other items were also bid on, as were designer dresses from CHANEL, Dior and Versace, handbags and kaftans owned by Elizabeth.

Marc Porter, chairman of Christie's Americas, said: "It is by far the greatest jewellery collection to be offered in a century."

Sales are set to continue through to Friday (16.12.11), with items including the dress she wore to her first marriage to Conrad Hilton among the items available.