- Title: SWITZERLAND: JEWELLWRY BY OPERATIC DIVA MARIA CALLAS GOES ON SALE AT SOTHEBY'S
- Date: 17th November 2004
- Summary: (W8) GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (NOVEMBER 17, 2004) (REUTERS) 1. SLV EXTERIOR OF HOTEL BEAU RIVAGE IN GENEVA, SWITZERLAND; CU OF PHOTO OF CALLAS; LV OF SOTHEBY'S AUCTION ROOM (3 SHOTS) 0.15 2. CU/LV/SV/SLV SOTHEBY'S INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DAVID BENNETT AUCTIONING CALLAS MARQUISE-SHAPED DIAMOND RING (8 SHOTS) 1.05 3. LV/CU/SV SOTHEBY'S INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DAVID BENNETT AUCTIONING CALLAS RUBY AND DIAMOND NECKLACE (5 SHOTS) 1.40 4. SLV/CU/SV SOTHEBY'S MAGNIFICENT JEWELS FANCY VIVID BLUE DIAMOND RING BEING SOLD (3 SHOTS) 2.10 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 2nd December 2004 12:00
- Location: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Reuters ID: LVA7KQT3FYOJ74C4I7M8IDY1OQZQ
- Story Text: Jewellery by operatic diva Maria Callas goes on sale
Superb jewellery pieces from the collection of
one of the worlds most famous operatic sopranos, Maria
Callas, was a highlight of Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels
auction on Wednesday (November 17, 2004) at the Beau Rivage
Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland.
Maria Callas, La Divina, was a real passionate
collector of fine jewellery. Sotheby's sale included 11
pieces, most of which were given to her by her husband,
Giovanni Battista Meneghini, during the 1950s, her golden
years, and which were bequeathed to a member of her circle
after her in 1977.
Whenever she was seen in public, she was always
stylishly dressed and adorned with the wonderful jewels
from the collection.
The most expensive piece sold of Maria Callas
collection was a marquise-shaped diamond ring, weighing
11.7 carats. It was sold to an anonymous buyer for 461,600
Callas ruby and diamond necklace was sold for
383,200 Swiss francs.
Emeralds were a favourite, and Callas often performed
wearing a dazzling emerald and diamond necklace or the
claw-set emerald and diamond ring, (the emerald weighing
37.56 carats), which fetched 260,000 Swiss francs.
Total sales of Callas jewels netted 2,189,600 Swiss
Maria Anna Sophie Kalogeropoulos was born in New
York in 1923. Her parents had emigrated from greece to Long
Island in August of that same year. The family name changed
to Callas in 1929 but reverted to Kalogeropoulos when Maria
was just 14, as her parents separated and she moved with
her mother and sisters to Athens. There she was admitted to
the National Conservatoire and in 1939 performed her first
recital of Cavalleria Rusticana.
In 1941 she made her professional start in Boccaccio with
the Lyric Theatre Company but in 1944 decided to return to
America, where she reclaimed the name Callas.
In 1949 she married the wealthy industrialist Giovanni
Battista Meneghini, who immediately took control over her
career. In the following ten years she became world-famous
with her performances in Milan, New York, Chicago and
London. She then met and fell in love with the Greek
shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, which resulted in the
end of her marriage and eventually, of her stage career.
Their stormy relationship did not last and in 1968, he
married Jacqueline Kennedy. Her last public performance was
in Japan in November 1974. Callas returned to her home in
Paris and died in 1977.
The Callas collection was just one of the highlights of
Wednesdays sale. Also on offer was a pear-shaped diamond,
of fancy Vivid Blue colour, weighing 10.62 carats and
mounted as a ring, which was sold for 5,165,600 Swiss francs.
Sothebys Magnificent Jewels total sales netted
23,685,200 Swiss francs.
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