“A sculptor has little need for jewels, and so I have decided the time is right to share them with other collectors,” – Gina Lollobrigida
85, who has consigned 22 of her Bulgari jewels to Soetby’s Geneva. Part of the proceeds will benefit stem cell research. Considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, Lollobrigida said she always bought her own jewels. Lots include:
The 22 pieces, from the Fifties and Sixties – Lollobrigida’s heyday as an actress in the era of la dolce vita Rome – include a pair of natural pearl and diamond pendant earrings made in 1964, with an estimated price of $600,000-$1 million; a 19.03 carat diamond ring from 1962 with a similar price tag; and a 1954 diamond necklace/bracelet combination in the $300,000 to $500,000 range.
Part of the proceeds from the sale on May 14 will benefit stem cell research, and key pieces from the collection will travel to London, New York, and Rome before returning for exhibition in Geneva in advance of the sale.
“I have been lucky enough to be given many roles in life – as an actor, a mother, a photojournalist, an ambassador for FAO, [the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, based in Rome] and as an artist,” Lollobrigida said in a statement. “I began collecting jewels from Bulgari in the 1950s and 1960s…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.”
The 85-year-old Lollobrigida, who starred alongside leading men including Frank Sinatra, Rock Hudson, and Bob Hope, added that she was now focused on a career as a sculptor.
“A sculptor has little need for jewels, and so I have decided the time is right to share them with other collectors,” she said. “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.”
“She is also selling a pair of emerald and diamond ear clips that she was photographed wearing one evening in 1965 with artist Salvador Dali that are expected to reach up to $250,000.
Lollobrigida, who was a student at Rome’s Academy of Fine Art before being spotted in a beauty contest by Italian film director Vittorio De Sica, said she now focuses her time on sculpture so has little need for jewellery.
In the past 10 years she has exhibited her work in Moscow, Paris and Venice.
“Acting was not my desire but at the end of things it was destiny that I did this,” she said.
“It was a very interesting experience and without the money I could not do what I like in sculpture. To do something in life, not to gain but only to enjoy life, that is the richness in life. I am lucky I can do that.”
Lollobrigida, who was married once and has a son, has been caught up in a bizarre marriage plot tied to her estate that is still being fought over in European courts.
She filed a complaint with police in Rome over ex-boyfriend Javier Rigau y Rafols, 51, a Spanish businessman, who insisted he had legitimately married her even though she says she was not present at the ceremony in November 2010.
“There was no marriage and it was a very ugly story. Fortunately there will be a good ending, a surprise ending,” said Lollobrigida. “I am very glad that this is nearly all over.”