When Lily Safra entered the salesroom after Christie’s charity auction of 70 items from her jewelry collection, she received a standing ovation. It was no surprise, given the evening’s results. Led by the $6.7m a Dubai buyer paid for a 32.08ct Burmese ruby and diamond ring—a new world auction record for a ruby—the Geneva sale realized almost $38m, which will benefit 32 charities.
Every lot sold at the auction, which nearly doubled Christie’s low estimate of $20m. A group of 18 jewels by JAR brought in $11.4m, becoming the most valuable private-owner collection of JAR jewels ever sold at auction. The charities that will benefit from the sale include UNICEF, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Safra is the widow of billionaire banker Edmond Safra, who died in 1999.