September 30, 2002 12:00 PM

Screen legend Elizabeth Taylor auctioned off some of her legendary rocks — about 50 individual pieces from her famed jewelry collection — late last week at Christie’s auction house in New York, with proceeds going to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation

This included an emerald and diamond ring that she received from Richard Burton as an engagement gift in 1962, for which the winning bidder shelled out $80,000, NBC News reports.

“I hope whoever wears it is as happy as I was,” Taylor said for TV news cameras.

The auction was part of a party for the release of her new memoir, “Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry.”

Also at the sale, a ruby and gold pendant necklace fetched $22,000, and a pink sapphire and diamond ring sold for $15,000. All told, the benefit raised $258,000 for Taylor’s foundation, which has distributed more than $8 million to AIDS organizations around the world since 1991.

In a freewheeling interview with The New York Times Sunday, Taylor, 70, discussed her eight marriages, addiction to alcohol and drugs, her four children, 11 grandchildren and her numerous health battles.

“Sometimes I surprise even myself,” Taylor, happy and astonished to be alive, said at her Bel Air, Calif., house.

She also touched upon the topic of hair color. “Let me give you a piece of advice,” she said, exposing her white roots to the interviewer. “When you’re my age, it’s best to be blond. You can tease it up high to hide the roots, and you don’t have to go to the hairdresser every week. I mean, that’s such a drag.”

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