SAFRA’S JEWELS HEAD FOR THE AUCTION BLOCK

JEWELS for Hope is the name of a collection of jewels being put up for sale at Christie’s by Lily Safra, the widow of Edmond Safra.

Edmond, a Lebanese-born billionaire and banking scion who owned Republic National Bank of New York, died in a mysterious fire in his penthouse flat in Monaco in December 1999. Lily Safra is clearly carrying on in the philanthropic tradition of her husband with all the proceeds from the sale of her collection, expected to be around $20m, benefiting 20 charities, ranging from Hopes and Homes for Children in Romania to the Royal Opera House in London.

Francois Curiel, international head of Christie’s jewellery department says: “Only a connoisseur with an eye as refined as Mrs Lily Safra could have collected such an ensemble of jewels....”

Yesterday was the first public view of the collection with the auction in Geneva on 14 May.

I hear that Barry McGuigan, the former boxing champion, is lining up a rendition of Danny Boy, the Irish song his father used to sing when he took to the ring, for his appearance at a gala concert for charity being arranged by a number of city firms including Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Allen & Overy, the Financial Times and Royal Bank of Canada.

Proceeds from the concert on 29 April will go to the Anchor House Home and Hope Appeal, which supports Anchor House, a residential life skills centre for the homeless in Canning Town. McGuigan will also play a few rock tunes with his own band.