Movie legend Gina Lollobrigida sold off her impressive collection of jewellery on Tuesday (14May13), raising more than $4.9 million (£3.16 million) for stem cell research.

The Italian actress put a total of 22 pieces under the hammer at the Sotheby's auction in Geneva, Switzerland, where a pair of pearl earrings sold for a record-breaking $2.39 million (£1.54 million).

The lot beat the $1.98 million (£1.27 million) figure set in 2011 from the sale of a natural pearl and diamond pair owned by Elizabeth Taylor.

The 85-year-old star, who attended the auction, says, "Jewels are meant to give pleasure and for many years I had enormous pleasure wearing mine. Selling my jewels to help raise awareness of stem cell therapy, which can cure so many illnesses, seems to me a wonderful use to which to put them."

The jewellery was part of Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction, which was held in Geneva after the lots were displayed in London, New York and Rome.