Close this search box.
The Real Pearl Co
Close this search box.

Lina Cavalieri

Lina Cavalieri, the beautiful Italian opera singer and cosmetics entrepreneur

Natalina “Lina” Cavalieri was born near Rome in 1874, the eldest of five children to humble parents. Her early life was hard until a local music teacher heard her sing and offered her free singing lessons. Her pretty voice brought her immediate success singing and dancing in musical open air cafés in Rome

From there she moved on to perform all around Europe, in ever grander establishments, whilst continuing to take singing lessons to further develop her voice

Lina made her opera debut in Lisbon, Portugal in 1900 and in 1905 starred opposite the great Enrico Caruso in the opera Fedora in Paris

Caruso and Cavalieri took the opera to New York in 1906 and Lina became the most photographed star of her time and was frequently named “the most beautiful woman in the world”

In 1909, to capitalise on her reputation as a great beauty, she opened her own beauty salon on New York’s 5th Avenue, selling her own beauty cream “Creme à la Cavalieri” as well as the latest Parisian fragrances

Lina retired from the stage in 1914 to concentrate on her expanding cosmetics business, wrote an advice column on make up, published a book, “My Secrets of Beauty” and launched her own perfume, called “Mona Lisa”. She became one of the leading beauty specialists of her time, owning a string of beauty salons, from Paris to New York

Lina and her fourth husband were tragically killed in February 1944 when an allied bombing raid destroyed her home in Florence

From 1952, she became the iconic face on the Italian designer Fornasetti’s works of art

This portrait of her was painted by Giovanni Boldini in 1901 from which we re-created her pendant necklace

📷 The Art Institute of Chicago

Shop the Style