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Fmr. actress sells jewels for $ 2 Cr.

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Friday, October 13, 2006
New York (Reuters): Diamonds, apparently, are a divorced actress's best friend. Ellen Barkin added a cool 20 million dollar to her savings yesterday when she auctioned more than 100 pieces of jewelry given to her by ex-husband billionaire Ron Perelman during their six-year marriage.The stunning total for the 103 lots of diamonds, rubies, sapphires and pearls sold by the Emmy-winning actress far exceeded expectations of both Christie's, which held the single-owner sale as part of this week's ''Magnificent Jewels'' auctions, and Barkin herself.Estimated to take in anywhere from about 10 million to 15 million dollar, the collection bearing names such as Cartier, Van Cleef&Arpels, Tiffany&Co. and JAR, the renowned Paris designer Joel Arthur Rosenthal, instead soared to 20,369,200 dollar including commission. It was the fourth-biggest single owner auction result in history.

''She was very, very pleased,'' said Francois Curiel, chairman of Christie's Europe and its international head of jewelry. Known for 1980s hits including The Big Easy and Sea of Love, Barkin virtually stopped acting during her marriage to Revlon mogul Perelman and endured a highly public split with him earlier this year.She is scheduled to appear with George Clooney and Brad Pitt in another Ocean's Eleven sequel and has said she plans to use the auction proceeds to fund her production company.Three items broke the 1 million dollar barrier: a diamond oval-cut 22.76 carat ring by JAR which sold for over 1.8 dollar million, a rectangular-cut 30.8 carat diamond ring which fetched 1.47 million dollar and a pair of diamond bangles, also by JAR, which went for just over 1.13 million dollar.

No slave to sentiment, Barkin even tossed her wedding ring on the bejeweled block. It fetched 156,000 dollar, far above the 30,000 to 50,000 dollar estimate. Celebrity cast-offs have proven an increasingly lucrative arena, as shown by Cher's recent garage sale which doubled expectations by taking in 3.5 million dollar, stunning the singer.Last week, Christie's auction of Star Trek memorabilia from the CBS vaults pulled in more than 7 million dollar, also more than twice the most optimistic estimates.

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