Dame Shirley Bassey’s Diamonds Are Ready for Their Encore

AuctionsMay 21, 2024

Dame Shirley Bassey’s Diamonds Are Ready for Their Encore

Sotheby’s will auction jewelry belonging to the “Diamonds Are Forever” singer in Paris this October.

Dame Shirley Bassey’s
Renowned Welsh singer Dame Shirley Bassey’s jewelry is going up for auction at Sotheby’s Paris this fall.
London—Jewelry from the collection of Welsh singer Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey is heading to auction for the first time this fall.

The collection will go up for sale Oct. 10 in Paris as part of Sotheby’s biannual Fine Jewels sale.

It is comprised of more than 80 jewels amassed over her seven-decade-long career, including pieces from Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Piaget.

Nearly every piece contains diamonds, the gemstone widely associated with Bassey since her performance of “Diamonds Are Forever” for the 1971 James Bond film of the same name, a song that has remained a staple in her repertoire. 

She’s the only singer in the world to have recorded multiple Bond themes, Sotheby’s said. She also recorded “Goldfinger” and “Moonraker” between 1964 and 1979.

Bassey’s career is “unparalleled in longevity, success, and esteem in British music history,” the auction house said.   

She was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and was recently appointed a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour by the king for her contributions to music.

Bassey began collecting jewelry as a young singer, and each piece featured in the sale represents a particular moment from, or special episode in, her illustrious career, Sotheby’s said.

“I fell in love with jewelry when I first discovered natural pearls as an up-and-coming singer, and I bought myself my first string of pearls—the first piece of jewelry I’d ever bought,” Bassey said.

“However, I quickly graduated to my lifelong passion for diamonds, which preceded the recording of ‘Diamonds Are Forever.’ In fact, I accepted to sing the song because it rang true to me and the way I felt about diamonds then and now.” 

The sale will feature a diamond and gold parure by Cartier estimated to sell for €200,000 to €250,000 ($217,000 to $272,000), as well as a necklace with more than 50 diamonds that could fetch up to €320,000 ($348,000).

Dame Shirley Bassey diamond necklace
Dame Shirley Bassey’s necklace featuring 52 graduated diamonds

Bassey’s heart-shaped yellow diamond ring will also be offered and is expected to go for €165,000 to €200,000 ($179,000 to $217,000).

yellow diamond ring
Bassey’s yellow diamond ring

“Collecting jewelry for me is like collecting memories, and this collection is full of them. All the pieces are meaningful and have a story to tell, whether I bought them for myself, or they were gifted to me,” Bassey said. 

Dame Shirley Bassey aquamarine set
A multi-piece set featuring aquamarines, sapphires, and diamonds estimated to sell for up to €70,000 ($76,000)

She added, “There is this beautiful 1960s vintage Van Cleef & Arpels ring covered in white diamonds that Elton John gave me after I sang at one of his AIDS Gala evenings and which I’ve worn so many times. Or the ruby and diamond heart parure I spotted in a fine jeweler’s window during a stopover in Bangkok on my way to my very first concert tour of Australia. 

“And perhaps one of the most special pieces in the collection is this emerald parure I bought myself to commemorate my very first Royal Variety Performance in front of the late queen.”

Dame Shirley Bassey Van Cleef & Arpels emerald and diamond necklace
The Van Cleef & Arpels emerald and diamond necklace seen in this set is estimated to sell for up to €70,000 ($76,000).
Pieces from Bassey’s collection will be available to view at Sotheby’s London from May 24-29, as well as at Sotheby’s Paris beginning on Oct. 4, prior to the live sale on Oct. 10. 

Proceeds from the sale will benefit Bassey’s chosen charities. 

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