DIAMOND LIFE: Jewelry once owned by Gina Lollobrigida fetched a combined total of 4.7 million Swiss francs, or $5.1 million, during an auction at Sotheby’s Geneva on Tuesday night.
A highlight of the sale was a pair of natural pearl and diamond pendant earrings, which set an auction record. The earrings, which the actress wore on numerous landmark occasions in her career, are said to have belonged to the historic collection of the House of Habsburg. They sold for 2.3 million Swiss francs, or $2.5 million.
Lollobrigida’s collection, which also included important pieces by Bulgari from the Fifties and Sixties, was the centerpiece of a jewelry auction which saw nearly 650 lots selling for a combined total of $74.7 million Swiss francs, or $80.2 million.
“Jewels are meant to give pleasure and for many years I had enormous pleasure wearing mine,” said Lollobrigida after the sale. “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.”
“Every so often a very special jewel collection comes along which is so much more than the sum of its parts,” said David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s Switzerland and chairman of the jewelry department for Europe and the Middle East. “Gina Lollobrigida’s magnificent jewels captured the public imagination around the world and the prices achieved this evening reflect not only the importance and rarity of those pieces, but also the aura of fascination which this legendary actress continues to exert.”
A second auction record was set on a 74.53 carat cushion shaped fancy yellow diamond formerly in the collection of the Persian Shah, Ahmed Shah Qajar, which sold for 2.8 million Swiss francs, or $3.1 million.
Several records were also set at a jewelry auction Wednesday at Christie’s Geneva, including a world record for a colorless diamond.
Harry Winston paid $26.7 million for the 101.73-carat, pear-shaped gem and named it the Winston Legacy.