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Actress Gina Lollobrigida's diamonds fetch $4.9 million at auction

A model wears a diamond necklace/bracelet by Bulgari (1954) a natural pearl and diamond pendant earrings(1962) and a diamond ring (1962) dur
A model wears a diamond necklace/bracelet by Bulgari (1954) a natural pearl and diamond pendant earrings(1962) and a diamond ring (1962) dur

(Reuters) - Diamond jewelry belonging to Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida sold for more than 4.74 million Swiss francs ($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 jewelry to raise money for stem cell research.

A pair of diamond and natural pearl earrings sold for 2.29 million francs ($2.37 million), an auction record.

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 combination, and a Bulgari ring featuring a 19.03-carat cushion-shaped diamond. Each fetched 749,000 francs ($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, seems to me a wonderful use to which to put them."

The jewelry 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 jewelry fetched 74.8 million francs ($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 2.85 million francs ($2.95 million), an auction record for a fancy yellow diamond.

A ring featuring a 27.9-carat brilliant-cut white diamond sold for 4.25 million francs ($4.45 million).

($1 = 0.965 Swiss francs)

(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy in Los Angeles; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Xavier Briand)

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