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ROME (Reuters Life!) - A martini glass studded with 226 blue sapphires fetched 13,000 euros at an unusual auction of designer cocktail glasses featuring everything from sandalwood and obelisk stems to a built-in olive piercer.
The sapphire-studded glass was one of 19 Bombay Sapphire glasses auctioned off by Sotheby's under the frescoed ceilings of a palatial Roman building to raise funds for cancer research this week.
Made with 22-carat gold and platinum, organizers say the chalice designed by Australian artist Peter Crisp is the first drinking glass created by fusing precious stones on to glass.
The winning bidder, Paola Mainetti, said she was neither a collector nor a cocktail glass aficionado.
"There are so many beautiful glasses here, but I bid on this only to benefit charity," she said.
Other designer glasses snapped up by the prim Roman nobility in attendance included the "Wood Martini" with an Indian sandalwood stem to keep the drink cold and the hourglass-shaped "Reign", which can be used to drink from either end.
More offbeat was the "Goobly" which, with 23 interconnected metal rings as a stem, makes keeping the cocktail from spilling out of the glass a feat in itself.
Reporting by Deepa Babington, editing by Paul Casciato