This November, the largest collection of Marina B jewelry will hit the auction block at Bonhams in Hong Kong. Founded by Marina Bulgari, the granddaughter of Sottiro Bulgari, the founder of Bulgari, Marina B jewelry flourished from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. Known for colorful, voluminous designs, Marina B jewels caught the eyes of movie stars and jewelry collectors such as Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor.
Sophia Loren wearing the Terry collar while accepting two Oscar awards.
Marina Bulgari began her career working at her family’s company, Bulgari, but left after the death of her father in the late 1970s. With her creative spirit and individual mindset, she founded her eponymous brand in 1977. Within two decades, her finely engineered jewels, whose stylishly bold compositions combined an airy elegance with fine articulated movement, were embraced by connoisseurs, international jetsetters and celebrities worldwide.
Elizabeth Taylor wearing the Pneu earrings
After selling the brand in 1999, the recently re-launched Marina B, under the leadership of Paul Lubetsky, CEO of Windsor Jewelers in New York, has re-created those iconic designs based on Marina B’s original drawings and jewelry molds. Today, stars like Jennifer Lopez, Amy Adams, Faith Hill and Taylor Swift celebrate Marina B jewelry for its elegant curves, geometric lines and kaleidoscope of colorful gemstones.
Faith Hill wearing Bouffe Pierre necklace at the MusiCare event 2013.
The Bonhams sale, set for November 26th of this year, will feature the largest, and most valuable, collection of jewelry by the Italian designer ever to be sold at auction.
Graeme Thompson, Head of Jewellery at Bonhams Asia, says: “We are delighted to be offering this wonderful, sumptuous and rare collection of Marina B jewellery. Her designs are iconic because of their architectural boldness combined with the use of vivid coloured gemstones contrasting with white diamonds. Undoubtedly Marina B was one of the pioneers of 1980s creativity and this is a rare opportunity to own one of the jewels she designed.”
Highlights from the sale include:
- An impressive tourmaline, diamond and onyx ‘Cristina’ torque necklace, signed by Marina B.
This necklace epitomizes Marina B’s classic style. The ‘Cristina’ series featured only five collars, each with different stones. Designed as a tapered sprung collar set throughout with fan-shaped motifs of graduated pear-shaped tourmalines surrounded by pavé-set brilliant-cut diamonds, all highlighted with fancy shaped onyx accents. Estimates: GBP £35,200 – 50,800
- A fine diamond and sapphire ‘Claw’ dress ring, signed by Marina B.
The striking and unusual claw ring incorporates a unique dress ring shape with unusual buff-top pink and blue sapphires which all form a very unusual design that is associated with the medieval period which Marina B loved to use in her dress ring designs. The pear-shaped diamond, weighing 3.02 carats, the surround and shoulders set with pink and blue sapphires. Estimates: GBP £27,300 – 43,000
- An orange sapphire and diamond ‘Fujiyama’ bangle*, signed by Marina B.
Another excellent example of Marina B’s signature style, the hinged bangle design reflects her personal take on inspiration from Japanese culture and cherry blossom. The bangle is highlighted by brilliant-cut diamonds and accented with circular-cut orange sapphires as stylized cherry blossoms. Estimates: GBP £10,900 – 15,600
- A pair of orange sapphire and diamond ‘Cuf’ earrings*, signed by Marina B.
The earring design complements the Fujiyama’ bangle: each kidney-shaped earring is highlighted by brilliant-cut diamonds, accented with circular-cut orange sapphires as stylized cherry blossoms. Estimates: GBP £6,300- 9,400
- A diamond ‘Kar’ torque necklace, signed by Marina B.
This stunning collar was worn by 15 times Grammy award winning singer Alicia Keys as she performed at the 2013 Superbowl. The necklace is designed as a sprung collar set to the front with courses of brilliant-cut diamonds. Its shape and pattern is seen in many of Marina B’s signature designs. Appreciating its beauty, simplicity and versatility, Alicia wore this actual collar upside down when she performed at the Superbowl so it did not interfere with her vocal cords while she sang. Estimates: GBP £8,600 – 15,600
- A magnificent sapphire and diamond necklace and earring ‘Amelia’ suite, signed by Marina B.
Marina B was known for her bold, unique and innovative designs, but she also celebrated the beauty of stones and classic jewelry design. This suite features the beauty of the Ceylon sapphires that are simply accentuated by diamonds in a classic setting. The necklace itself is set with 12 cushion-shaped natural Ceylon sapphires to the front totaling 104.81 carats, with the largest weighing 15.95 carats. Estimates: GBP £ 305,000-390,000
- A cultured pearl, sapphire, diamond, tourmaline and onyx ‘Pauline’ torque necklace, signed by Marina B.
The tapered sprung collar reflects a classic Marina B design with two Marina B-cut pink tourmalines surrounded by pavé diamonds. It is set to the front with a cushion shaped sapphire. A similar collar was worn by international film star and Italy’s most renowned and honored actress Sophia Loren at the 65th Annual Academy Awards event in March 1993. Estimates: GBP £15,600 – 23,450
- A magnificent ruby and diamond ‘Georgina’ ring, signed by Marina B.
This stunning ring combines Marina B’s innovative style using large, precious stones of exceptional quality set in a flamboyant and abstract setting. The natural Burmese ruby weighs 10.54 carats with a marquise and asscher-cut diamond surround. Estimates: GBP £242,000-352,000
- A cultured pearl necklace, signed by Marina B.
The 90cm necklace features 71 natural color golden South Sea cultured pearls which graduate from golden color into soft white towards the back, completed by a spherical cultured pearl clasp. Estimates: GBP £11,700 – 15,600