She's the enigmatic Italian actress whose curves and charisma rivalled those of Sofia Loren, and whose stellar career inspired Marilyn Monroe.
Now, Gina Lollobrigida's Bulgari gems are expected to take up to £650,000 at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale, scheduled to take place in Geneva on 14 May.
Gina, who was affectionately known as 'La Lollo', plans to showcase 22 Bulgari jewels from her prized collection. Standout pieces include an emerald diamond ring which could sell for up to £160,000, and a pair of natural pearl and diamond drop pendants that could fetch up to £650,000.
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The pearl drop earrings – which were one of the star's signature looks and are shown above – are the most expensive pieces in the collection. The emeralds are modelled below.
All the jewellery going under the hammer was worn by Gina at the height of her fame and glamour in the Fifties and Sixties. The diva's passion for jewels was only equalled by her passion for philanthropy, and all proceeds from the sale will be funnelled into stem cell research.
Gina explains, "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.
"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."
Gina rose to fame in the Fifties. Her most famous films include Solomon and Sheba and Hotel Paradiso. She also starred alongside Frank Sinatra in Never So Few.
Italy's answer to Elizabeth Taylor, her talents were as varied as her jewellery collection. As a photojournalist she photographed, among others, artist Salvador Dalí and politician Henry Kissinger.
A mum of one, Gina now splits her time between her Sicilain ranch and her villa in Monte Carlo, where she dedicates her time to sculpting.
The artist cites her new passion as the reason she is selling off her jewels, saying, "a sculptor doesn't need jewellery".
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