When the actor Richard Burton couldn't buy his glamorous wife the actual Taj Mahal, "'cause it was too big to move" to their home in Switzerland, he bought Elizabeth Taylor a heart-shaped Indian diamond now worth at least $300,000 (Dh1.1 million).
"Some consolation prize!" Taylor said on her 40th birthday when she received the diamond and jade pendant necklace with the ruby and gold chain by Cartier.
That particular piece, dating back to about 1627, caught my eye earlier this week when a collection of Taylor's jewels made a stop in Dubai as part of Christie's world tour of the "crown jewels of Hollywood" before they are sold at auction in New York in December. The 269 pieces are expected to fetch more than $30 million.
At first, I was struck by what looked like Arabic writing inside the heart. When I asked, it turned out that it was inscribed with the name Nur Jahan, the wife of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahangir. This heart-shaped diamond is believed to have been a gift from the ruler to his son, who became the great emperor Shah Jahan.
It is believed that the young prince, at the age of 35, presented the diamond to his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The emperor's grief at her death just four years later was legendary - in her memory he commissioned the majestic Taj Mahal, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
Legends tell that the stones and metals in jewellery capture some of the aura and energy of the wearer, passing them on to the next owner. So to be on the safe side, it is probably better to inherit jewellery with a love story behind it rather than a tragic one.
As long as I can remember, I have loved rocks and gems, collecting whatever happens across my path. I have a huge collection of different shaped and coloured rocks and stones; hence the nickname of "raven Rym" as I was dubbed by friends who have known me since childhood. Ravens and crows are both known for snatching anything shiny they happen to see.
There are several species of animals and birds that share humans' affinity with "precious" stones and gems. In the wide world of marriage customs, it is not just human males who search for the right diamond engagement ring; it is a much tougher task for male Adelie penguins in Antarctica, who often end up fighting over the right pebble to use to propose to their penguin mates.
But we humans do have our own peculiarities. In the oldest tombs in the world, you are bound to find skeletons buried with their precious jewellery. In Dubai Museum's 4,500-year-old tomb, with the remains of man and a woman hugging each other, there are beads and a brass anklet on the female skeleton. There were also seashells containing khol.
Besides decorative purposes, there are even theories linking certain rocks and metals with healing powers. Some believe that if you wear your birthstone, it will give you positive energy.
During a recent visit to a resort in the seaside town of Sopot in Poland, I even a had an "expert" determine what the most compatible mineral was for me to wear. I thought that it would be a ruby, since that is my birthstone, but the expert told me that it was much more complicated than that.
Just the other day I saw a colleague wearing a silver bracelet that, he swore, helped to keep him calm. I actually wore a copper bracelet for a while but it split in half on a particularly bad day.
"It is your temper that broke it, you need a stronger metal to cope with your energy," is what my mother told me.
Of course, at the end of the day, it all depends on what you believe. For me, a pebble from a place of which I have a nice memory is enough to make me happy. For others, the pebble has to cost a few hundred thousand dollars for it to be cherished.