The collection known as the "Crown Jewels of Hollywood" includes a necklace that sold for $11,842,500 and a 33.19-carat diamond ring that sold for $8,818,500.
The massive pearl in the necklace, known as "La Peregrina," was once part of the crown jewels of Spain.
Actor Richard Burton, Taylor's former husband, bought it for the actress in 1969 and had Cartier make the rest of the necklace, which includes diamonds and rubies, around it.
The necklace was estimated to sell for $2 million to $3 million. The price surpassed the previous auction record for a pearl, set in 2007 at Christie's auction house in New York City with the sale of The Baroda Pearls for $7,096,000.
The collection went on sale Tuesday night at Christie's in New York. The diamond ring, which was estimated to sell for $2.5 million to $3.5 million, was purchased by a private buyer from Asia, according to a Christie's spokesman.
Among the other high-profile items was a diamond bracelet given to the "National Velvet" and "Cleopatra" actress by singer Michael Jackson, with an estimated sale price of $30,000 to $50,000. It sold for $194,500.
Taylor, who starred in classics such as "Giant," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," died in Los Angeles in March at age 79. A jewelry lover, she had pieces from some of the most famous names in the jewelry world, including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Chopard, in her collection.
Other sales of Taylor's art, clothing and memorabilia will be held later in the week. An online-only sale of some items runs until Saturday.
Part of the proceeds will go to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
Taylor's collection of impressionist and modern art is scheduled to go on sale at Christie's in London in February.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.