the MARIA CALLAS ruby and diamond ring

A ruby and diamond ring
18 carat gold, cabochon ruby, marquise and brilliant-cut diamonds

ring head length 2.7 cm

A ruby and diamond dress ring, the central oval cabochon ruby with marquise and brilliant-cut diamond tiered cluster surround to the plain hoop.


Important Jewellery, 11 Dec 1991, Christies, London, lot 63
private collection, Athens


Important Jewellery, 11 Dec 1991, Christies, London, lot 63, illustrated

sold for 16 499.00 €

Maria Callas was born Cecilia Sophia Anna Maria Kalogeropoulos in New York City, on the 2nd of December 1923.

She began classical piano lessons at the age of seven. As she was growing up she proved adept at singing, with dramatic flair, hence her mother encouraged her to pursue a vocal career.

In 1937, when Callas was a teen, her parents separated leading her, her mother and her sister to move to Greece. In Athens, Callas studied vocals under the famed Elvira de Hidalgo.

As a student, Callas made her stage debut in 1939 in a school production of Cavalleria Rusticana. For her dazzling performance in the role of Santuzza, she was honoured by the conservatory.

In 1941, Callas made her professional debut with the Royal Opera of Athens in a modest role in Franz von Suppé's Boccaccio. Later that year, she was offered her first major role in Tosca.

In the mid 1940s, she moved back to New York to spend time with her father and to look for work, however she encountered a number of rejections. She eventually moved to Verona, where she met rich industrialist Giovanni Meneghini. The two married in 1949.

Callas's Italian opera debut took place at the Verona Arena in August 1947, in a performance of La Gioconda. Over the next few years, under the management of her husband, Callas continued to perform in Florence and Verona to critical acclaim. Though her voice captivated audiences, as her fame increased, Callas developed a reputation as a temperamental, demanding diva and was nicknamed The Tigress.

In 1954, Callas made her American debut in Norma at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The performance was a triumph and was seen as a signature role. In 1956, she at last had the opportunity to sing with the Metropolitan Opera in her home city of New York.

Callas's marriage had begun to deteriorate. Callas and Meneghini split at the end of the decade, during which time she was having an affair with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.

During the 1960s, Maria Callas's formerly stellar singing voice was discernibly faltering. Her performances grew fewer and farther between, as a result of her frequent cancellations. Though she formally retired from the stage in the early '60s, Callas made a brief return to performing with the Metropolitan Opera mid-decade. Her final operatic performance was in Tosca at Covent Garden in London on July 5, 1965, attended by The Queen Mother Elizabeth. In 1969, she also appeared in the title role of the film Medea.

In the early 1970s, Callas tried her hand at teaching. In '71 and '72, she conducted master classes at Juilliard in New York.

On the 16th of September 1977, at the age of 55, Maria Callas died suddenly in her Paris home in what was believed to have been a heart attack.