Bargain Fragrance Reviews Bargain Fragrances: Elizabeth Taylor Diamonds & Rubies (1993)

Bargain Fragrances: Elizabeth Taylor Diamonds & Rubies (1993)

02/10/17 10:17:04 (21 comments)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less. 

Summary: A surprising, spicy floriental from master perfumer Sophia Grojsman for Elizabeth Taylor's 1993 Fragrant Jewels collection, Diamonds & Rubies in 2017 doesn't have quite the same depth it once did but for about $15 USD it is an enjoyable, rose, cinnamon and peach combo that feels both contemporary (with its Eastern allusions) and retro (Giorgio Red) at the same time.

Perfumer: Sophia Grojsman

Elizabeth Taylor Diamonds & Rubies

Try this if you like: Eastern attars of rose, spices and woods; rose as an accent but not as a major focus; the work of Grojsman in general; fragrances like YSL Opium; and try this if you don't mind boozy hints of peach.

Reminds me of: Paloma Picasso Tentations, Giorgio Red, Boucheron Jaipur, Bill Blass HOT, Guerlain Nahema, and remarkably (mostly the midnotes) Lagerfeld Sun, Moon, Stars.

Pros & Cons: I was a freshman in college when Elizabeth Taylor's Fragrant Jewels collection (Diamonds & Rubies, Diamonds & Emeralds, and Diamonds & Sapphires) launched at Belk department store and I remember testing and liking all three. Somehow, the trio were never really on my radar as a collector. But for some years now I've been watching as the praise keeps rolling in here at Fragrantica for Diamonds and Rubies and based on my appreciation for some of the "reminds me of" fragrances and deep appreciation for Sophia Grojsman, I decided that the time and price were right to take the plunge. I'm in love.

The aroma still resembles its original composition, though it has lost some of its depth, especially the richness of the original woody basenotes. No matter, for those who never smelled the original or the pure parfum version (pictured below), the current formulation is still highly enjoyable. I also think that many folks who like Grojsman's other creations (e.g. Tresor, Eternity, Spellbound) will easily fall for D&R due to that Grojsman theme that seems to run through many of her creations. And the price is just too affordable not to test drive this beauty; online sites seem to offer the best bargains.

 

Elizabeth Taylor Diamonds and Rubies pure parfum

 

Fragrantica reviewer, Lucia.Lawson from USA, wrote, "This is an absolutely beautiful beautiful perfume. Everything you've heard about this fragrance is true. It's a Sophia Grojsman and that gal can certainly make a perfume. This smells like sweet peaches, roses, spices, powder, and amber. The first whiff is something like a delicious but light peach and an almond. The scent develops into florals of red roses, yellow ylang, white jasmine, purple lilac, heliotrope, orchid and lily of the valley. The peach scent is always in the background and then mingles with vanilla and powder. This is a sweet powdery feminine womanly scent. Romantic, glamorous, elegant, it's like White Diamonds but less intense and sweeter. I can never tire of this fragrance."

And Nhledger, a Fragrantica member from Australia explains, "I've had my bottle of D&R for a few weeks now but haven't worn her for a whole day yet as I'm still a little unsure of her! I've spritzed her on my skin on a few separate occasions to trial her (in the safety of my home) but haven't really been able to come to terms with her yet. When I first sniffed her, she smacked me in the face with what I would describe as a bygone era, a heady old fashioned kind of smell. Beyond that, I was left slightly addled in a cloud of serious fumes swirling all around me! It wasn't hate, but I was long way from love. So today, I sprayed my forearm with 2 good spritzes and went about my chores outside in the sunshine, taking a sniff of her now and again. At first I got that familiar "old fashioned bygone era" smell but then she started to settle and, when I stopped burying my nose into my arm and just let the warm breeze waft her scent across my face, I started to enjoy her. Finally I could detect her scent as a HUGE rose. Right now I'm still overwhelmed by that rose scent and I've not been able to detect the spices at all unfortunately, but I can now at least smell the peach note. IMO she is rosy, she is powdery and she is a little soapy...but she's also bold and blousy and quite lovely. Personally, I would love to smell more of the spice and woodiness, but we'll see what happens in another couple of hours time."

Elizabeth Taylor in Cartier's ruby suite of jewels

Taylor in Cartier's ruby suite of jewels

However, Clgiles888, another Fragrantica reviewer from USA offered, "I kept reading roses and peaches, roses and peaches, sounds good, right? Well where the hell are they? I wanted to love this, tried it twice and determined it is a scrubber for me. I smell like I rubbed powder scented baby oil on me and then dumped unsweetened cocoa powder on top of that. Asphyxiating me. This one needs a restraining order, sorry."

Notes: Top notes consist of peach, red rose, cyclamen and bitter almond tree. The heart seduces with juicy and sweet jasmine, orchid, heliotrope and rose touched by the spices, along with passionate ylang-ylang and lily-of-the-valley. The base is composed of amber, cedar, powdery vanilla, benzoin, sensuous musk and warm milky sandalwood.

Designer’s Description: NA

Number of times tested: 5 times over the last 3 weeks.

Number of sprays applied for this review: 2 sprays to the back of my hand from a 100ml bottle I purchased online (ca. 2017).

Fragrance strength: Eau de Toilette

Red roses

Development: (Linear / Average / Complex): I don't find much development in D&R but I wouldn't quite call it linear either. The aroma opens with a peach liqueur, a fresh red rose aroma akin to smelling the blossom on its stem, and an array of spices (mostly I get cinnamon). As the scent develops, the floral and vanillic aspects become more obvious; mostly I detect and almondy heliotrope and sharp ylang, but they sure are subtle. The basenotes of the current formulation are practically imperceptible.

Longevity: (Short / Average / Long-lasting) D&R starts with a bang and ends with a breeze; I get about 3-4 hours.

Sillage: (A Little / Average / A Lot) D&R doesn't project much beyond its first hour and as such I think this one might be office safe (if not being too heavy-handed).

Note about the packaging: A simple, cylindrical, transparent glass bottle with a metallic ringed accent that suggests pavé diamonds. The cap is understated in plain gold metal and the fragrance is boxed in an almost deco-looking red paper box with black and gold accents.

Where can I buy it? I bought my 100ml EDT spray for $12 USD shipped.

Liz Taylor in Franco Zefferelli's Taming of the Shrew

Liz Taylor in Franco Zefferelli's Taming of the Shrew

The Bottom Line: I've always said that people should wear what makes them happy and pay no attention to gender designations, labels or price tag. Yet I long resisted Elizabeth Taylor fragrances partly due to my association of her fragrances with the older women that filled the days of my adolescence. I have alwyas been a huge fan of Passion for Men, recently discoverd Black Pearls and have recently begun re-visiting the entire Elizabeth Taylor collection. I previously reviewed Violet Eyes HERE, Passion HERE and Passion for Men HERE.

When I first re-experienced Diamonds & Rubies for the first time since 1993, I was surprised to find the aroma familiar, but not because of memory. D&R recalls a number of other aromas (Grojsman's work especially) and references an entire fragrance genre (the spicy rose). In my quest to experiment with bargain retro scents, I recently tried to re-ignite my interest in Giorgio Red (for women) but the current formulation just smells too harsh and chemical for me. D&R on the other hand offers a similar red bouquet with spices that by no means perfect, is incredibly compelling, especially in cooler weather. In fact, I've been enjoying some of Olivia Giacobetti's rose and spice scents (e.g. Penhaligons Elixir & Costes) and find some similariies. The main difference is Grojsman's penchant for peach, and in D&R this sweetens the composition and restrains the floral notes while toning down the spices.

I would suggest Diamonds and Rubies to men (and women) who enjoy a good spicy floral and aren't afraid to wear what they like. And to lovers of Grojsman's work more generally, or Tresor, specifically, I think you'll be quite pleased. If Lancome ever launches an "Exotic Tresor" then this is what I imagine it might smell like. And for $10-$15 USD shipped, it's hard to go wrong with a blind buy. Now I need to re-visit Diamonds & Sapphires and Diamonds & Emeralds!

 

Image of the author

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

Managing Editor & Columnist

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison’s journalism in the fragrance industry has appeared in international print and online publications such as PlayboyMen’s JournalMen’s Health and the New York Times. Marlen is also a regular contributor to BeautyAlmanac.com and works as a graduate professor, thesis advisor and faculty supervisor for MA programs in TESOL, Education, Writing and Literature. Learn more about Marlen by visiting:  www.MarlenHarrison.com.

 



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corkscrewcurly
corkscrewcurly

I bought Diamonds & Rubies after reading this.

It should have worked for me. I am so disappointed that it doesn't.

I have a full bottle (minus a couple of sprays) I am happy to send to anyone in the UK for the cost of P&P.

Please PM me.

Mar
17
2017
Konga5000
Konga5000

So happy that these classics are still around-- even though I do not like Passion and Passion for Men is a black pepper bomb. Yukkers.

Everything else is DIVINE . I had problems with Violet Eyes because the frag did not feel "purple" or "violet" at all. Oh literal me.

LOVE Elizabeth Taylor's Gardenia and for a "cheapie" --the bottle alone (empty) seems like it's worth $10.00 ! How about that?


P.S. PLEASE do a thing on my other favorite "cheapie"
COTY Sand and Sable !
P.S.S. I did not know Diamonds and Emeralds was a tuberose/gardenia frag-- after all these years I just tried it ! Wow!

Mar
03
2017
angelccluv
angelccluv

Ewee. looking back now. This is WAY too sweet for me! I wore it on my wedding day in 1995. It was perfect then, but oh my how things change! I cannot really stand it now. It's too strong. On a sweeter note....My marriage is stronger than ever!! :-) <3

Feb
18
2017
unregistered
unregistered

Okay, I have to edit to say this is quite nice after the first hour or two. The cinnamon tames down a bit and the coumarin/vanilla (musk? I'm mostly anosmic) comes up. It doesn't project so hard and it's kinda yummy, actually, and much softer than the first hour would suggest.

Feb
12
2017
unregistered
unregistered

Ah, so you talked me into it. I went to Ross and got a 50ml for ten bucks. It's what the ingredients on the back say it is--cinnamates, citronellol, benzyl salicylate, eugenol--cinnamon, rose, carnation--soapy, spicy, and long-lasting. I really like Grojsman's Jaipur, and have bought up what I can of it, but I'm getting more cinnamon/rose/vanilla (coumarin)from this than the former's peach/fruitiness. I don't detect any sort of wood or musk base to it, either, just the coumarin/vanilla and cinnamon. It's a bit Glade Floral Mist for me, and that's what I'll probably use it for--a room scent. I wouldn't mind smelling it on others--that is, just wafting by--but I don't think I'd like smelling this on myself all day. Rather than finding it too much, it's lacking something. It might be good for layering!

Feb
12
2017
LANIER
LANIER

Another wonderful, thoughtful review that has sparked my interest to revisit this sparkling concoction by Elizabeth Taylor. To paraphrase the Lady, into each life a little diamond should fall...and a few rubies too. Cheers!

Feb
11
2017
wagners erda
wagners erda

Thank you for this. I love your review and would have to say D&R is my favourite Elizabeth Taylor perfume. After that it's definitely Passion. I wore this a few days ago after a long break and I couldn't help noticing how the spices worked so well with the peach and rose in a rather subtle way. The sillage was just enough to make me feel that it could be noticed without being overpowering.

Feb
11
2017
drugstore classics
drugstore classics

I admire Sophia Grossman's compositions very much, even though (due to a certain type of chemical or melon-like quality) not all of them work on my skin. I need to try Diamonds and Rubies again to remind me if it was one of these, haha. I appreciate her Vanderbilt no end - a true delight. :)

So wonderful that you chose to highlight yet another Liz Taylor classic, Marlen. I really enjoy this line of celebrity releases, no matter how they smell on me personally. Despite going funky green sour on me at times, the split second of application is divine!

To me, Liz's most winning recent release is Violet Eyes, which has considerably more to say than the safer blandness of others within the decade. Of her true classics, PASSION is my favorite! Not only more wearable for me personally, but rich in the civet and incense that I adore. And to think that the first time I tested Passion I was promptly horrified! Tastes DO change, don't they?!

Yes, the more recent reformulation of Passion smells more unisex, almost masculine on first spray. I don't mind. This is what happens when more expensive formulas are cheapened, and I'm used to it by now, LOL. But the vintage is a thing of wonder.... <3

Feb
11
2017
Erinbath22
Erinbath22

I think I have been secretly wishing that you would review this! I haven't been able to try it and was scared off by some reviews. It sounds like maybe I should just go for it.

Feb
11
2017
felicite34
felicite34

Nice review. I like many of the Liz Taylor fragrances and own many of them. I am also a fan of Diamonds and Emeralds. Most are a little unique and worthwhile at the price.

Feb
11
2017
socorrosouza
socorrosouza

Love it, but it doesn't remind me much of Tresor that is, on me, mostly IsoE super. Volupté reminds me more of Tresor, with its huge dollop of IsoE Super. Diamonds & Rubies is spicier, a boozy spicy peach with rose undertones and, on me, is distantly related to long gone Spellbound, my favorite perfume. Pity that it doesn't last longer (also 3/4 hours ) with moderate sillage and it wasn't that cheap since in Brazil you depend on other people to bring it from USA, but definitely worth it. It must have been awesome in its heyday !!!!!!!!!!

Feb
11
2017
paolalou
paolalou

I love Diamond and Ruby, as well as many perfumes of Sophia Grojsman. Note that
R&D came out in 1993, as wel as YSL Champagne (Yvresse), another masterpiece of her, with an amazing nectarine peach as prominent note. To me both truly enjoyment.

Feb
11
2017
glitteralex
glitteralex

This perfume is right on trend, again, with the onslaught of spicy roses. Diamonds & Rubies can stand up to any of the "arabian" rose scents that go for hundred of dollars more!

Feb
10
2017
Angela Agiannidou
Angela Agiannidou

This is a great article, and of course I own this gem. Spicy peaches with an aromatic rose and woods. Pure heaven!

Feb
10
2017
azcactusgirl
azcactusgirl

This was such an enjoyable article about one of my very favorite budget fragrances!! I have never been one to go for celebrity anything but after reading about it, I gave it a try. I immediately knew this was a creation of Sophia Grojsman when I smelled it for the first time and at that moment, I fell in love! It smells so much like Sun, Moon and Stars, which is another of my favorites, yet one that is increasingly expensive and hard to find. I am happy to have a stand-in for Sun, Moon and Stars that is not hard to get and that is a reasonable price. I very much enjoy the spicy florals of Diamonds and Rubies..... it feels so extravagantly rich and high-end to me when I spray some on! The only thing that makes me sad is that it has a relatively short longevity on my skin. I sure wish it lasted longer! Every morning when I first get up, I spray something on to wear until I take my shower. I find that often I pick Diamonds and Rubies for the great floral and spicy scent it has, such a great way to start the morning off nicely.

Sophia Grosjman has the nose of a genius with the many wonderful fragrances she has created for us and this is one of them. It is a very intriguing blend of spices and flowers, quite balanced and very well put together.

Thank you very much Marlen, for yet another great and informative article on budget scents. I do love a good bargain and I always find each article you write is personally useful to me. I have added some new fragrances to my collection from your articles and I'm grateful for the time and work you put into these for all of us.

Feb
10
2017
PerfumeEmpress
PerfumeEmpress

Marlen, I LOVE your articles about bargain fragrances. Thank you!

Feb
10
2017
Fragrant Desert
Fragrant Desert

I love you suggest this to men (and women). Have no desire to steal from women whatsoever but love to share. If that wasn't a typo you have made a wonderful, quantum leap which I appreciate. Women can own this no doubt as women can do anything. For myself, this is actually a bit too powdery spicy so I have to apply one spray tops. I think a one spray approach to start is good with Elizabeth Taylor until you get a feel for how she works best on you. My real point is that tastes have changed so much that the powerful little delights from ETaylor Today could be marketed to men as well as women. Many women's fragrances of the past now simply seem to be considered masculine by women but without question a woman will wear this in a way only a woman can.

Feb
10
2017
perfumecritic
perfumecritic

@nostalgiastreet: yes! I do get a little Red Door from this : )

Feb
10
2017
NostalgiaStreet
NostalgiaStreet

This is still one of my favorites from the '90s. Roses are my favorite flower, and I've always enjoyed the rose in this. It reminds me a little of the original Red Door with more carnations. I'm glad it can still be found.

Feb
10
2017
emt1986
emt1986

It is very reminiscent of Sun, Moon, Stars to me as well! I tried this first, and when I smelled SMS, it was immediately familiar.

Feb
10
2017
ntabassum92
ntabassum92

Need to try this one, I love Liz Taylor fragrances and also Tresor :) Great article!!!

Feb
10
2017

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