GENEVA (AP) — A diamond jewelry collection belonging to Italian screen actress Gina Lollobrigida fetched $4.9 million at auction, some of which she plans to donate to stem cell research, Sotheby's said Wednesday.
The auction house said eight bidders fought for Lollobrigida's pair of diamond and natural pearl earrings, which finally sold for more than $2.3 million and set a new auction record for such an item.
It was among the highlights in a collection of 23 jewels that the 85-year-old actress, who starred opposite Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra and other top actors in the 1950s and 1960s, was selling partly to fund an international hospital for stem cell treatment.
Lollobrigida's jewels were the top draw at an auction of hundreds of pieces that Sotheby's said brought in an estimated $78 million Tuesday night.
The auction house also sold off a 74.53-carat fancy yellow diamond that once belonged to Ahmad Shah Qajar, the shah of Persia from 1909 to 1925 and the last ruler of the Qajar dynasty. Its sale for nearly $3 million set both an auction record and a record price per carat — an eye-popping $40,061 per carat — for a fancy yellow diamond.
Among other items auctioned off was Barcelona star Lionel Messi's Audemars Piguet No. 10 Royal Oak Chronograph wristwatch, which sold for $81,850 to raise money for the four-time FIFA player of the year's foundation.
After the auction, Lollobrigida said her jewels had brought her much pleasure for many years but she hopes that "selling them will raise awareness of stem cell therapy, which can cure so many illnesses."