Sotheby's Geneva to offer magnificent jewels from The Collection of Gina Lollobrigida

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Sotheby's Geneva to offer magnificent jewels from The Collection of Gina Lollobrigida
Gina Lollobrigida wearing the pair of natural pearl and diamond pendants, Bulgari with Roy Alexander, Editor of Time, on the magazine’s 40th anniversary celebration at the Waldorf Astoria in New York in 1963. Gina Lollobrigida was the only Italian to have appeared on the cover at this date..

GENEVA.- Sotheby’s Geneva announced that it will offer 22 outstanding jewels from the Collection of the legendary actress, artist and philanthropist Gina Lollobrigida in its Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels Sale on 14th May 2013. The auction will feature important Bulgari jewels from the 1950s and 1960s, worn by Miss Lollobrigida at landmark moments in her career and which were highlights of the international touring exhibition, Bulgari – 125 Years of Italian Magnificence in 2009-2012.

Highlights include a pair of natural pearl and diamond pendant earrings made in 1964 (est. $600,000-1,000,000), a 19.03 carat diamond ring, circa 1962 (est. $600,000-1,000,000) and a 1954 diamond necklace/bracelet combination (est. $300,000 -500,000).

Key pieces from the collection will travel to London, New York and Rome before returning for exhibition in Geneva in advance of the sale. The auction follows in Sotheby’s great tradition of offering jewels from some of the world’s leading stars, including Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich, Maria Callas, Mary Pickford and Paulette Goddard.

Commenting on the sale, Gina Lollobrigida said: “I have been lucky enough to be given many roles in life – as an actor, a mother, a photojournalist, an Ambassador for FAO, and as an artist. I began collecting jewels from Bulgari in the 1950s and 1960s, drawn by the wonderful craftsmanship and distinctive style of these pieces. They accompanied me on many journeys – both professional and personal - and are redolent of those times and the extraordinary people I met along the way. These days I am focussing my time on my career as a sculptor. After more than 65 years I have come full circle, returning to the skills I first learned at the Fine Arts Academy in Rome. A sculptor has little need for jewels, and so, I have decided the time is right to share them with other collectors. In so doing, I can also help a cause very close to my heart, that of stem cell research – treatment, which I believe should be freely available to every child. It is my wish that part of the proceeds from the sale will contribute to help fund an international hospital for stem cell research.”

David Bennett, Chairman, Sotheby’s Switzerland and Chairman, Jewellery, Europe and Middle East said: “These exceptional jewels are evocative of both a woman, and an era. Not only do they reflect Gina Lollobrigida’s brilliance, but they are among the finest designs created by Bulgari in the “dolce vita” years of the 1950s and 1960s. Many pieces were chosen to represent the company’s distinctive craftsmanship in Bulgari: 125 Years of Italian Magnificence, an international exhibition which showcased Bulgari’s work around the world. The auction represents a wonderful opportunity for collectors to acquire seminal Bulgari pieces, imbued with Gina Lollobrigida’s magical provenance”.

Mario Tavella, Chairman Sotheby’s Italy and Deputy Chairman, Sotheby’s Europe commented: “Gina Lollobrigida is one of the greatest and most glamorous stars, not just of the Italian screen, but of 20th Century world cinema. Sotheby’s Italy is thrilled to have been entrusted with selling this wonderful selection of jewels from her Collection. It follows collections from personalities associated with the Italian artistic scene to be offered by Sotheby’s, including that of Gianni Versace, Maria Callas and Franco Zeffirelli.”

Highlights from the collection include:

• A diamond necklace/bracelet combination, Bulgari, 1954, (also worn by Miss Lollobrigida as a tiara) a favourite of Miss Lollobrigida on landmark occasions, including receiving her 1961 Golden Globe for World Film Favourite – Female (est. $300,000-500,000).

• A pair of natural pearl and diamond pendants, Bulgari, 1964 and worn by Miss Lollobrigida on numerous public occasions, including to meet Princess Margaret at The Taming of the Shrew premiere in London in 1967 (est. $600,000-$1,000,000).

• A diamond ring set with a cushion-shaped diamond weighing 19.03 carats, Bulgari, 1962 (est. $600,000-1,000,000).

• A pair of emerald and diamond earclips, Bulgari, 1964. Each earclip suspends a detachable pendant set to the centre with a pear-shaped emerald (est. $150,000-250,000).

• An emerald and diamond brooch set to the centre with a step-cut emerald weighing 27.57 carats (est. $150,000-250,000).

• An emerald and diamond ring, Bulgari, 1964, set with a step-cut emerald weighing 16.62 carats, framed by two rows of brilliant-cut diamonds (est. $120,000-180,000).

Gina Lollobrigida, legendary actress, photojournalist and sculptor, was born in 1927 in Subiaco, Italy. During the 1950s and 1960s she became one of the best-known and most popular screen stars in the world, with a film career spanning Italy and France and Hollywood.

In 1947, Gina, a student at Rome’s Academy of Fine Art, entered the Miss Italia contest and was spotted by Italian film director Vittorio de Sica. Her film career began with roles in string of Cinecitta productions in Rome. A fluent French speaker, she also won parts in French movies such as Fanfan la Tulipe and Beauties of the Night, which inevitably brought her to the attention of Hollywood.

In 1953 she made her first American film – Beat the Devil, directed by John Huston and starring opposite Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones. Many other leading roles followed, in movies including Trapeze, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Solomon and Sheba and Never so Few, in which she played opposite major stars of the day including Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Antony Quinn, Yul Brynner and Frank Sinatra. In 1961 she was awarded a Golden Globe (as World Film Favourite – Female) for her role in the romantic comedy Come September with Rock Hudson.

Gina Lollobrigida garnered many other prestigious international awards for her dramatic skills, including six David di Donatello awards in Italy for roles in films including The World’s Most Beautiful Woman, Venere Imperiale and Buona Sera, Mrs Campbell, six Bambi Awards in Germany and has been nominated for a BAFTA and two further Golden Globes.

In the 1970s, Miss Lollobrigida moved behind the camera and became a highly acclaimed photojournalist. In 1973, her first publication, Italia Mia, for which she spent three years travelling incognito across her homeland, sold more than 300,000 copies. She has published a further five books of photography, three of sculptures and has made three documentaries – one on Fidel Castro (1974), one on Indira Gandhi (1976) and a 35mm film about the Philippines (1976). In 1980 an exhibition of her photographs in Paris won her the “Gold Medal of the City of Paris” and in 1992, she was awarded the Légion d’Honneur by François Mitterand for her work as an artist and actress. In 1996 Gina Lollobrigida was made an Honorary Member of the Arts Academy of Florence – one of only three women to have been recognised by the Academy in this manner.

Her sculpture has been exhibited at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (2003), the Musée de la Monnaie in Paris (2004), the 2003 Open in Venice and at a sculpture retrospective in Pietrasanta (2008).

For her commitment to various humanitarian organisations, she was nominated first Ambassadress for the FAO in 1999 and has worked closely with UNICEF, UNESCO, Médecins Sans Frontières, Mother Theresa of Calcutta and children in Romania.

In 2007, she received the unique honour from the Republic of San Marino of becoming the only woman to be featured in a special edition of four postal stamps bearing her portrait – each depicting a different facet of her career – as actor, photographer, sculptor and humanitarian. In 2008, in Washington, the Italian-American Foundation NIAF awarded her the “Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of her artistic life.

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