The unique jewelry collection of eminent philanthropist Lily Safra is set to be auctioned by Christie’s of Geneva on May 14. The proceeds from the public sale will serve to benefit twenty charitable institutions.
Safra’s collection includes the largest amount of jewels amassed by a single owner from the exclusive Parisian jeweler JAR (Joel Arthur Rosenthal) that has ever been put up for auction. The overall collection, which encompasses seventy lots, is estimated to be worth more than $20 million. In addition to numerous valuable diamonds, sapphires and rubies, Safra’s collection boasts a range of fine antique and period jewelry.
The JAR group of eighteen jewels was produced specifically for Lily Safra by Rosenthal from the 1980’s through the 2000’s. According to Francois Curiel, International Head of the Jewelry Department, a jewelry auction of such magnitude is sure to create a sensation. “Only a connoisseur with an eye as refined as that of Lily Safra could have collected such an ensemble of jewels,” Curiel stated. “And only someone with her philanthropic conviction could have expressed such powerful support to worthwhile causes in all charitable fields.”
Lily Safra has perpetuated the legendary philanthropic activities of her late husband, Edmond J. Safra, a celebrated banker and founder of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation. As chair of the foundation since 2000, Mrs. Safra has given extensive financial support to hundreds of socially beneficial projects. These have included educational, scientific, medical, religious, cultural and humanitarian relief services in more than forty countries.
In the educational realm, Mrs. Safra provides crucial support to an impoverished area of northern Brazil, where her Alfredo J. Monteverde School teaches science and technology to 1,000 children. Moreover, as Honorary Chairman of the International Sephardic Education Foundation (ISEF), which she established with her husband in 1977, Safra oversees the largest non-profit organization promoting higher education for intellectually gifted Israelis from disadvantaged backgrounds.
A major benefactor of health causes, Safra supports research into cancer, HIV/AIDS, and neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, at dozens of hospitals and universities worldwide. She and her husband built a cutting-edge children’s hospital in Tel Hashomer, outside of Tel Aviv, which treats thousands of children annually from across the region.
Mrs. Safra has also taken a lead role in humanitarian causes, including building homes for orphaned children in Romania; constructing the Jordan River Valley Camp for children with cancer in Israel; helping to establish the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda; providing welfare services for the elderly in Odessa; and assisting the Red Cross with its relief efforts after natural disasters around the world. She is a Co-Founder of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, dedicated to the sustainable and equitable management of natural resources.
A devoted collector of art and jewelry, Safra has made notable contributions to such respected institutions as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, London’s Courtauld Institute of Art, and – in France – the Chateau de Versailles and the Musee du Louvre. The latter contains a specially-dedicated room showcasing the works of art donated by Mrs. Safra and her husband.