Diamonds aren’t forever as singer Shirley Bassey sells her gems

By Thomson Reuters May 23, 2024 | 9:56 AM

By Sarah Mills

LONDON (Reuters) – Dame Shirley Bassey, who famously sang “Diamonds Are Forever” in the James Bond film of the same name, is selling some of her jewellery and watches at auction, with proceeds from the sale to benefit her chosen charities.    The Welsh-born singer, 87, is parting with more than 80 items, including dazzling pieces by high-end names such as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels at Sotheby’s Oct. 10 Fine Jewels sale in Paris.    “This collection is eclectic and shows her (Bassey’s) grand personality and superstar status,” said Nikita Binani, Head of Jewellery at Sotheby’s London.    “A lot of the pieces have diamonds, which is a wonderful theme that connects everything together,” she said of the highly varied collection.     Top lots include a diamond necklace with an estimate of 270,000 – 320,000 euros ($292,500 – $346,700), a diamond and gold parure by Cartier estimated at 200,000 – 250,000 euros, a yellow diamond ring for 165,000 – 200,000 euros and an emerald and diamond necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels estimated at 60,000 – 70,000 euros.    “Collecting jewellery for me is like collecting memories, and this collection is full of them,” Bassey said in a press release.    “All the pieces are meaningful and have a story to tell, whether I bought them for myself, or they were gifted to me.”    Among these, she said, is a 1960s Van Cleef & Arpels ring covered in white diamonds Bassey received from Elton John after performing at one of his AIDS fundraising galas and an emerald parure she bought herself after singing at the Royal Variety Performance for the first time in front of the late Queen Elizabeth.    “One of the things that’s wonderful about this collection is that many of her jewels were gifted or bought or acquired around or connected to a stage performance of hers,” said Binani.    As well as 1971’s “Diamonds are Forever”, Bassey is known for recording the theme songs for two other James Bond films, 1964’s “Goldfinger” and 1979’s “Moonraker.”    Highlights of the collection go on show as part of Sotheby’s London Fine Jewels sale from Friday until May 29. They will also be exhibited in Paris from Oct. 4 in the run-up to the live auction.

($1 = 0.9230 euros)

(Reporting by Sarah Mills; Additional reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)