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Home Culture Not quite forever? Shirley Bassey auctions her diamonds

Not quite forever? Shirley Bassey auctions her diamonds

She once sang ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ – but Dame Shirley Bassey is now letting hers go. For a good cause.


Welsh singer Dame Shirley Bassey, 87, famously sang about diamonds in the 1971 James Bond film and said she accepted the offer to sing the track as the lyrics “rang true to me and the way I felt about diamonds then and now.”

Now, she is auctioning some of her “meaningful” jewels, including a diamond ring given to her by Sir Elton John.

But unless you’re Goldfinger, good luck getting your hands on these. Although we doubt that the Bond villain would have done it for charity, as the items she collected throughout her career will be sold at Sotheby’s Paris, with the proceeds benefiting Bassey’s chosen charities.

Among the highlights are a diamond necklace (estimate between €270,000 and €320,000); a diamond and gold parure created by Cartier (estimate $215,000 to $269,000); a yellow diamond ring (estimated to fetch between €200,000 and €250,000); and a 1960s vintage Van Cleef & Arpels ring covered in white diamonds that Elton John gave her after she sang at one of his AIDS Gala evenings.

Dame Shirley said the collection of jewellery includes pieces she bought for herself to commemorate significant moments – including performing at her first Royal Variety Performance in front of the late Queen.

“Collecting jewellery for me is like collecting memories and this collection is full of them,” she said.

“All the pieces are meaningful and have a story to tell, whether I bought them for myself or they were gifted to me.”

Highlights from Dame Shirley’s collection will be exhibited at Sotheby’s London from 24 to 29 May before they go on display in Paris from 4 October.

The live auction will take place at Sotheby’s Paris on 10 October.

And just for good measure, here it is: 

Ah, much better.

Additional sources • PA – Sotherby’s

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