|Gina Lollobrigida wearing the diamond necklace/bracelet combination, Bulgari, 1954, as a tiara and the record-breaking natural pearl and diamond pendant earrings.|
Jewels belonging to movie legend Gina Lollobrigida sold at Sotheby’s Geneva Tuesday for more than $4.9 million (including buyers’ premium), smashing the high estimate of $3.2 million.
The star of evening was a pair of natural pearl and diamond pendant earrings, believed to have been owned by the House of Habsburg, which sold for nearly $2.4 million—an an auction record for a pair of natural pearl ear pendants, beating the figure set by Elizabeth Taylor’s pearl earrings in 2011. Lollobrigida wore those earrings on numerous landmark occasions in her career.
Buyers from around the world also clamored for seminal pieces from the 1950s and 1960s by Bulgari, the auction house said. Lollobrigida is donating her proceeds from the sale to benefit stem cell research. Among the highlights:
* A diamond necklace/bracelet combination, Bulgari, 1954, which realized $783,851, well above the $500,000 high estimate. The necklace was identified by Daniela Mascetti as one of Bulgari’s most important creations in her book Bulgari. Lollobrigida was seen wearing this jewel on key moments in her professional and personal life, including when she received her 1961 Golden Globe for World Film Favorite – Female.
* A diamond ring set with a cushion-shaped diamond weighing 19.03 carats, Bulgari, 1962, which brought $783,851.
* A pair of emerald and diamond earclips, Bulgari, 1964, which sold for $306,633.
* An emerald and diamond ring, Bulgari, 1964, set with a step-cut emerald weighing 16.62 carats which fetched $181,050.
View Gina Lollobrigida’s jewels in the Sotheby’s Geneva auction.
Speaking after the sale, Lollobrigida said: “Jewels are meant to give pleasure and for many years I had enormous pleasure wearing mine. Many people tried to persuade me to sell them, but for a very long time I was unwilling. What changed was seeing a little girl called Sofia suffering from a disorder, which could only be helped by stem cell treatment—treatment which she is unable to receive in Italy. Selling my jewels to help raise awareness of stem cell therapy, which can cure so many illnesses, seems to me a wonderful use to which to put them. It is my hope that the Italian parliament will approve this ground-breaking treatment, so that children and adults in Italy should have free access to it without having to travel abroad at great expense. It now gives me great pleasure to see that these jewels will create a legacy which will live on after me and continue to do good.”
Lollobrigida’s collection was the centerpiece of Sotheby’s Magnificent and Noble Jewels sale Tuesday, which saw nearly 650 lots selling for a combined total of $78.2 million.
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