Callas jewels to go on sale

LONDON (AP) – Jewelry that once belonged to the famed soprano Maria Callas will be sold at auction, Sotheby’s said yesterday. The sale, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in November, will include 11 pieces given to the opera diva by her husband, wealthy Italian industrialist Giovanni Battista Meneghini, in the 1950s. The most expensive of the jewels is an 11.7-carat, marquise-shaped diamond ring that Sotheby’s expects to sell for between 68,000 and 100,000 pounds sterling (US$ 120,000 and US$ 180,000). Also on the block will be a chunky, claw-set emerald-and-diamond ring estimated at between 45,000 and 78,000 pounds sterling (US$80,000 and US$140,000). A ruby-and-diamond Van Cleef & Arpels brooch was estimated at 28,000 to 45,000 pounds sterling (US$50,000 to US$80,000) and Sotheby’s predicted a ruby-and-diamond necklace would bring in between 52,000 and 78,000 pounds sterling (US$90,000 and US$140,000). Callas left the jewels to a friend when she died in 1977, and that person, whom Sotheby’s declined to identify, is selling them now. Callas and Meneghini married in 1949, but she eventually left him for Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, with whom she had a stormy relationship until he wed Jacqueline Kennedy in 1968. The jewels will be displayed in New York, London and Paris before the sale at Geneva’s Hotel Beau-Rivage on November 17.

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