Tonight in an electric atmosphere at Sothebys
Geneva, outstanding pieces from the collection of international screen legend Gina Lollobrigida sold for a combined total of CHF 4,741,500 ($4,962,122) (est. CHF 1.8-3.1 million/ $1.9-3.2 million). An exceptional pair of natural pearl and diamond pendant earrings - said to have belonged to the historic collection of the House of Habsburg which the actress wore on numerous landmark occasions in her career, sold for CHF 2,285,000 ($2,391,321) an auction record for a pair of natural pearl ear pendants, beating the figure set by Elizabeth Taylors pearl earrings in 2011. Buyers from around the world also clamoured for seminal pieces from the 1950s and 1960s by Bulgari. Ms Lollobrigidas collection was the centrepiece of an epic auction of Magnificent and Noble Jewels which saw nearly 650 lots selling for a combined total of CHF 74,751,375 ($78,229,556) (est. CHF 46,982,000- 69,900,500 / $49,168,072- 73,152,970). Tonight a 74.53 carat cushion shaped fancy yellow diamond formerly in the collection of the Persian Shah, Ahmed Shah Qajar also sold for CHF 2,853,000 ($2,985,750), establishing an auction record for a fancy yellow diamond and a record price per carat for a fancy yellow diamond ($40,061 per carat).
Speaking after the sale, Gina 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.
David Bennett, Chairman of Sothebys Switzerland and Chairman of the Jewellery Department for Europe and the Middle East commented: Every so often a very special jewel collection comes along which is so much more than the sum of its parts. Gina Lollobrigidas 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. Sothebys was honoured to be entrusted with the sale and we are delighted that the results will contribute to the noble cause of stem cell research, reflecting Miss Lollobrigidas great generosity of spirit and her humanitarian work.
Jewels from the Collection of Gina Lollobrigida
Testament to the allure of one of the greatest stars of 20th century cinema, outstanding jewels from the collection of Gina Lollobrigida excited interest from around the world. On Friday night, the star caused a sensation when she visited the opening of the exhibition of her collection at Sothebys Geneva.
The highlight of the collection the record-breaking pair of natural pearl and diamond pendant earrings are exceptional for their colour and size, each drop-shaped natural pearl measuring approximately 15.6 x 12.1 x 24.9mm and 15.9 x 13.8 x 23.3mm. Estimated at CHF 565,000-940,000 ($600,000-1,000,000), these pearls were worn by Miss Lollobrigida on numerous public occasions, including to meet Princess Margaret at The Taming of the Shrew premiere in London in 1967. Tonight they were pursued by no less than eight bidders before selling to a buyer in the room.
The other star lot of the collection was a diamond necklace/bracelet combination, Bulgari, 1954 which realised CHF 749,000 ($783,851) (lot 663, est. CHF 285,000-470,000/ $300,000-500,000). The necklace was identified by Daniela Mascetti as one of Bulgaris most important creations in her book Bulgari. Gina 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 Favourite Female.
Other highlights in the collection included:
A diamond ring set with a cushion-shaped diamond weighing 19.03 carats, Bulgari, 1962 which brought CHF 749,000 ($783,851) (lot 662, est. CHF 375,000-750,000/ $400,000-800,000).
A pair of emerald and diamond earclips, Bulgari, 1964 which sold for CHF 293,000 ($306,633) (lot 659, est. CHF 145,000-240,000/ $150,000-250,000).
An emerald and diamond ring, Bulgari, 1964, set with a step-cut emerald weighing 16.62 carats which was bought for realised CHF 173,000 ($181,050) (lot 660, est. CHF 115,000-170,000/ $120,000-180,000).
Historical & Noble Jewels
Todays auction confirmed the extraordinary appeal of jewels of noble provenance and great historical importance among international collectors. Having featured in the private collection of his Late Imperial Majesty Sultan Ahmed Shah Qajar, the seventh and last ruler of the Qajar dynasty of Persia (r. 1909-1925), a fancy yellow diamond and diamond jewel from the late 19th century, set with a 74.53 carat cushion shaped fancy yellow diamond sold for CHF 2,853,000 ($2,985,750), establishing an auction record for a fancy yellow diamond and a record price per carat for a fancy yellow diamond ($40,061 per carat) and doubling the pre-sale expectations (lot 585, est. CHF 1,310,000-1,680,000/ $1,400,000-1,800,000).
From the collection of a Lady of title, an important light pink diamond and diamond necklace, suspending a detachable pendant set with two marquise diamonds, a brilliant-cut light pink diamond weighing 6.93 carats, two circularcut diamonds, one weighing 34.78 carats, and a briolette diamond weighing 11.38 carats sold for CHF 2,285,000 ($2,391,321) (lot 586, CHF 1,410,000-2,350,000/ $1,500,000-2,500,000).
The Magnificent Jewels section featured a rich offering of white diamonds, led by a cushion modified brilliant-cut diamond weighing 27.90 carats mounted as a ring which made CHF4,253,000 ($4,450,892). This D Colour, internally flawless gem has not only received the highest colour and clarity grade from the GIA for white diamonds, but has also been found to be part of the rare Type IIa subgroup. Stones in this group, which comprise less than 2% of all gem diamonds, are chemically the purest of all diamond crystals and often have extraordinary optical transparency (lot 636, CHF 3,760,000-5,640,000/ $4,000,000-6,000,000).
Other white diamond jewels sold tonight included: a fine diamond necklace by Graff, suspending a 12.60 carat pearshaped diamond (certified D Colour, Internally Flawless) which achieved CHF 1,745,000 ($1,826,195) (lot 631, CHF 1,410,000-1,880,000/ $1,500,000-2,000,000) and an impressive ring, set with a cushion brilliant-cut diamond weighing 31.35 carats which realised CHF 1,745,000 ($1,826,195) (lot 614A, est. CHF 1,310,000-1,680,000/ $1,400,000-1,800,000).
The selection of coloured diamonds comprised a cut-cornered rectangular mixed cut fancy light purplish pink diamond weighing 12.85 carats and mounted as a ring which sold for CHF 1,445,000 ($1,512,236) (lot 630, est. CHF 1,125,000-1,695,000/ $1,200,000-1,800,000).
The sale also included a rich assortment of exceptional gemstones. Among the Kashmir sapphires was an important cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 11.71 carats, mounted as a ring which made CHF 1,061,000 ($1,110,368) (lot 629, est. CHF 940,000-1,500,000/ $1,000,000-1,600,000). The velvety blue of this stone has been described by the Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF as typical and characteristic of the finest sapphires of Kashmir.
Burmese sapphires were represented by a magnificent sapphire and diamond pendant/brooch from the 19th century, set with a pear-shaped sapphire weighing 43.27 carats. This stone was sold for CHF 521,000 ($545,242) (lot 624, est. CHF 190,000-285,000/ $200,000-300,000). By family tradition, the sapphire once belonged to Joséphine de Beauharnais (b. 1763-1814), first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte.
The finest emeralds in the world are generally acknowledged to be found in Columbia and fine examples exhibit the most vivid green, as exemplified in a fine emerald and diamond ring, claw-set with a cushion-shaped emerald weighing 25 carats which achieved CHF 1,025,000 ($1,072,693) (lot 626, CHF 940,000-1,400,000/ $1,000,000-1,500,000).
Jewels designed by Suzanne Belperron for Cécyle Simon
Following Sothebys Geneva white glove sale of 60 Jewels from the personal collection of Suzanne Belperron (1900-1983) in May 2012 1, this springs sale confirmed the appeal of creations by the most talented and influential female jeweller of the 20th century. Jewels designed for her long-standing friend Cécyle Simon realised a combined total of CHF 1,215,250 ($1,271,796) which almost doubled the low estimate (est. CHF 550,000-771,500/ $575,592-807,398).
Leading this collection was a diamond ring, set with a 9.10 carat circular-cut diamond, 1970-1974, which achieved CHF 269,000 ($281,517) (lot 33, est. CHF 150,000-185,000/ $159,000-195,000).
Suzanne Belperrons daring creations often combine diamonds and hardstones. In circa 1955, she created a chalcedony and diamond dress clip, in the form of a bunch of grapes (grappe de raisin) which nearly tripled the high estimate to realise CHF 93,750 ($98,112) (lot 34, est. CHF 23,000-33,000/ $24,300-34,800).