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LOVE 'EM AND LEAVE 'EM: Ellen Barkin watched from a private viewing room at Christie's in New York on Tuesday as she unsentimentally unloaded more than 100 pieces of jewelry for $20,369,200 (well above the $15 million estimate) given to her by billionaire financier and Revlon chairman Ronald O. Perelman, who in January surreptitiously filed for divorce from the actress. Jewelry bigwigs including Fred Leighton — who was fixed on acquiring several important pieces from the impressive lot even though he sold his 35-year-old eponymous firm to renowned collector and dealer Ralph Esmerian in April and is expected to exit the firm soon — and Lorraine Schwartz were in attendance, as was Graff president and chief executive officer Henri Barguirdjian, who said he was looking, not buying.
"I'm interested to see what's going on," said Barguirdjian. "I saw the collection. It shows the great taste of a great woman."
Christie's staffers had to put out additional chairs for the vast crowd, many of whom were struck by the media blitz of the sale generated by Barkin's team and by the 17 pieces of JAR jewelry that went up for sale. A JAR diamond ring that was estimated to fetch $800,000 to $1.2 million was bought for $1.6 million, while Leighton lost out on a two-strand ruby bead and diamond sautoir for $375,000, but managed to nab a single-strand emerald bead and diamond necklace earlier for $400,000.
VIVA ITALIA: It may have seemed an odd setting, but Manhattan's Chinatown Brasserie last week was all about Italy — or at least Italian lingerie. Fabiola Beracasa, Emilia Fanjul, Tinsley Mortimer and model Ana Beatriz Barros hosted a luncheon to introduce the popular Intimissimi collection, which is now offered Stateside exclusively at Victoria's Secret (Barros is the face of the line's ad campaign). During pre-lunch cocktails, guests such as Natalie Leeds Leventhal and Jackie Astier nibbled spring rolls and dumplings, while Shoshanna Gruss and Fanjul compared pediatrician notes. "I think this dress is supposed to be a loose fit," joked Fanjul of her choice of maternity gear, a very chic Anna Sui crochet frock.