The two became close friends, so much so, that when Taylor died, she left Ireland several paintings, including an Andy Warhol, as well as her lifetime achievement Oscar. Ireland said Taylor helped her find her voice, trust her sense of style and pay attention to detail.
"[Taylor] would take a look at piece of jewelry and she would turn it in the back, and maybe you think, 'Well, nobody is going to see the back,'" Ireland said. "No, no, no the woman wearing it will see it and she will know and it matters."
It's that passion for detail and love for design that Ireland now incorporates into her business. She said she doesn't just rubber-stamp the products that carry her name. She and her tight-knit team are actively involved in everything from design to marketing the products.
"When I used to model, the job description is 'shut up and pose,'" she said. "There are people today who would really like me to go back to that old job description and 'just shut up and pose.'"
But those days are over for Ireland, and there is no going back.
"I always knew I belonged on the other side of the lens," she said.