C.J.: On sale: Pearls galore from House of Gabor

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 3, 2012 - 7:51 PM

Those Gabor girls used to joke that among the four of them they had enough pearls to stretch from New York City to Budapest.

Some of those pearls have spent the past decade in the Twin Cities with a private collector, according to JB Hudson prez and CEO Jeannie Joas. Tonight, her Nicollet Mall store will sell and auction over a million dollars' worth of lustrous molluskian treasures from the "Gabor Family Estate Jewelry." The silent auction (featuring 45 items) begins at 5 p.m.; a live auction (showcasing 23 items) starts at 7 p.m.

"What I love about it is that we have many pearl strands for $100," said Joas. "You can own a piece of Hollywood and history for as little as 100 bucks."

"It's really the 'Jolie Gabor Collection,' but I have to say that there are many photographs of the daughters wearing [the jewels]," said Joas. "Is there anybody more glamorous than the Gabor sisters?"

Jolie's daughters, Magda, Eva and Zsa Zsa, were famous for being famous before Kim, Kourtney and Khloe were twinkles in the eyes of Robert and Kris Kardashian.

"The Gabors were the original 'Glamour Girls.' No one else compares," said Joas.

"Jolie Gabor was a pioneering businesswoman. I admire her. She had jewelry stores in Hungary, and then when World War II broke out she fled to New York City with only $100 and a large, important diamond ring," said Joas. "She somehow wove herself into New York society, opened jewelry stores in New York City. She had three daughters and was so determined her daughters would be famous, marry rich and be Hollywood starlets."

Zsa Zsa is the only surviving Gabor sister. She's sadly been in the news recently as her daughter, Francesa Hilton, and Zsa Zsa's ninth husband, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, fought in court over her finances and medical care.

"All the starlets are having their jewels on auction," said Joas. "Sotheby's recently had auctions for Kitty Carlisle Hart and Brooke Astor, and here in Minneapolis we have the 'Glamour Girls.'"

When I previewed the collection last week, JB Hudson employees were regaling me with their favorite Gaborisms from a book.

"Omigod," said Joas. "One of my favorites is that between the four of them they had 22 husbands. And the girls always said they were excellent housekeepers because when one relationship ended they always kept the house. Don't you love that?"

I'd love to know the name of the private Twin Cities collector who's had these Gabor jewels the past 10 years, but Joas couldn't say.

"The gentleman donated [this private collection] to the Guthrie, and many of these pieces were actually on the theater stage. Then we acquired it [the jewelry collection]," said Joas. "What's really nice about our event is that a portion of the proceeds goes to the Hennepin Theatre Trust, the Cowles Center and the Walker Art Center," said Joas, who believes in maintaining strong connections between the business and cultural communities.

Big-name author in town

Arnold Schwarzenegger should probably swing by JB Hudson to see if there's anything there that might thaw an estranged wife's heart. He's at the Mall of America Thursday to sign copies of the book that's not likely to make him more appealing to Maria Shriver.

"I don't know," said Jeannie Joas. "I don't know what he needs to mend that relationship."

I'd be done with him, but I'm not Kennedy woman material.

Schwarzenegger's schedule reportedly will preclude him from doing any Twin Cities media. I won't get to ask the twisted, shameless muscle head if on some level his book was written to punish Shriver for not reconciling.

He probably has not recovered from that delicate yet thorough "60 Minutes" grilling dished out by Lesley Stahl.

Stahl got the job done! However, when Schwarzenegger was interviewed on ABC by George Stephanopoulos and CNN by Piers Morgan, the male interviewers tiptoed around what broke the Arnold and Maria's marriage before moving on quickly to share laughs with Arnold while discussing politics and his movie stardom.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on Fox 9 Thursday mornings.

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