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A Charitable Auction of Collectible Jewels

Christina Garofalo

Philanthropist Lily Safra, the widow of Edmond J. Safra, is offering a magnificent collection of her personal jewelry estimated at more $20 million at a Christie’s auction in Geneva on May 14, with the proceeds going to 20 different charitable institutions. Known as a discerning connoisseur of art, collectibles, and jewelry, Safra is offering 70 jewelry lots, including 18 pieces by French jeweler Joel Arthur Rosenthal (JAR), which represents the largest private collection of JAR’s work to ever appear at an auction.

The auction, called Jewels for Hope, illustrates Safra’s dedication to her philanthropic endeavors, a passion she shared with her late husband. As the longtime chair of the Safra Philanthropic Foundation, which funds humanitarian projects in more than 40 countries, Safra has committed the proceeds of the sale to her selected charities.

Gem lovers can expect exceptional antique pieces, including a group of 12 diamond leaf-shaped brooches accompanied by a pair of matching ear clips from the mid-19th century (estimated at $200,000 to $400,000) and a stately Cartier necklace (circa 1906) comprising 68 carats’ worth of diamonds in a floral motif dotted with emeralds (estimated at $600,000 to $800,000), as well as important collector’s pieces, like a 32-carat, cushion-shaped Burmese ruby Chaumet ring (estimated at $3 million to $5 million).

However, the 18 JAR pieces will likely attract the most attention, since JAR makes a limited number of coveted items, and most often a personal introduction is required to secure an appointment with the elusive jeweler. The JAR pieces include a 28-carat Colombian emerald ring on a band of pearls and diamonds (estimated at $500,000 to $700,000), a ring with two diamond charms—weighing approximately 17 and 15 carats each (estimated at $300,000 to $500,000), and a flower-shaped brooch covered in more than 170 carats of rubies and diamonds (estimated at $1.2 million to $1.5 million). (www.christies.com)

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Photo by Agence Pustetto