“Diamonds Are Forever” Legend’s Iconic Jewelry Collection Unveiled at Sotheby’s

Each piece is a testament to Dame Shirley Bassey’s lifelong connection to natural diamonds.

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Few songs are as iconic as “Diamonds Are Forever,” the 1971 James Bond theme that etched Dame Shirley Bassey’s name in the annals of music history. Her powerful, unmistakable voice, accompanied by natural diamonds’ dazzling allure, immortalized the song, forging an enduring bond between the legendary British singer and the world of fine jewelry.

This October, Sotheby’s will present a glittering array of over 80 jewels from Dame Shirley Bassey’s personal collection, offering the public a unique glimpse into the legendary singer’s lifelong love affair with natural diamonds. 

“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. 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,” Dame Shirley commented. 

Shirley Bassey wearing the hip-hugging black velvet dress that she says catches mens’ eye. She was photographed at Wood Green Television Studios where she was rehearsing, 17th June 1960. (Getty Images)
Shirley Bassey performs on stage at the Royal Variety Performance held at the Palladium in London, England on November 15, 1971. (Photo by Tony Russell/Redferns)

Dame Shirley Bassey, recently appointed Member of the Order of the Companion of Honour by The King for music services, has been collecting jewelry since her early days as a rising star.

As the only vocalist to have recorded three James Bond themes—”Goldfinger,” “Diamonds Are Forever,” and “Moonraker”—Bassey’s seven-decade career has been unparalleled in its longevity, success, and esteem.

The collection heading to auction represents special moments in her illustrious life, each piece a personal marker of her journey through music history.

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“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.

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 added.

Courtesy of Sotheby’s.
Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

The auction, held in Paris as part of Sotheby’s Fine Jewels biannual sale, will feature standout pieces from prestigious brands such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Piaget.

Notably, almost all the pieces feature natural diamonds, reinforcing Bassey’s iconic association with the gemstone through “Diamonds Are Forever.”

Highlights include a diamond riviera necklace (estimated at €270,000 – €320,000), a diamond and gold parure by Cartier (estimated at €200,000 – €250,000), an impressive natural yellow diamond ring (estimated at €165,000 – €200,000), and an emerald and diamond necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels (estimated at €60,000 – €70,000).

The collection’s proceeds will benefit Dame Shirley Bassey’s chosen charities, underscoring her generosity and lifelong dedication to philanthropy.

Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Each piece in this extraordinary collection is a testament to Dame Shirley Bassey’s unparalleled career and lifelong connection to natural diamonds. With their exquisite designs and personal significance, they are remarkable jewels and timeless artifacts of music history. For the first time, the public has a chance to witness and perhaps even own a piece of Dame Shirley Bassey’s sparkling legacy.

Before the live auction in Paris on October 10, Sotheby’s will showcase the collection across three cities:

Grimaldi Forum, Monaco: May 10-11

Sotheby’s London: May 24-29

Sotheby’s Paris: October 4 onwards