Lollobrigida's jewels fetch $4.9m

Actress' jewellery scored a fortune as she helped raise funds for stem cell therapy.

FILE PHOTO: Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida arrives for the premiere of the documentary film "Enzo Mirigliani" on November 16, 2012 during the 7th Rome film festival. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - Diamond jewellery belonging to Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida sold for $4.9 million on Tuesday in Geneva and set a record for pearl earrings, auctioneer Sotheby's said.

Lollobrigida, a leading sex symbol of the 1950s and 1960s, said she was selling the jewellery to raise money for stem cell research.

In an auction record, a pair of diamond and natural pearl earrings sold for $2.37 million.

The earrings beat the $1.98 million figure set in 2011 from the sale of natural pearl and diamond earrings by Bulgari, owned by late actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Other prized items from Lollobrigida's collection included a Bulgari necklace and bracelet combo and a Bulgari ring featuring a 19.03 carat cushion shaped diamond.

Each fetched $776,056.

The 85-year-old actress attended the auction and said she hoped the money raised would be put towards advancing stem cell research in Italy.

"Jewels are meant to give pleasure and for many years I had enormous pleasure wearing mine," Lollobrigida said in a statement.

"Selling my jewels to help raise awareness of stem cell therapy which can cure so many illnesses seem to me as a wonderful use to which to put them to."

The jewellery was part of Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Nobel Jewels auction, held in Geneva after going on display in London, New York and Rome.

Overall, the auction of more than 600 lots of gems and jewellery fetched $78.2 million.

Other top-sellers included a late 19th-century 74.53-carat fancy yellow diamond owned by the Imperial Majesty Sultan Ahmad Shah Qajar, the last ruler of the Qajar dynasty in Persia.

It sold for $2.95 million, an auction record for a fancy yellow diamond.

A ring featuring a 27.9 carat brilliant-cut white diamond sold for $4.45 million.