Joanna Lumley supports auction of £500k necklace

Joanna Lumley modelling the Shere Khan Necklace.

Born Free Foundation unveils diamond-encrusted Shere Khan necklace.

Actress Joanna Lumley has shown support for the Born Free Foundation by modelling a unique diamond necklace which will be sold at auction to raise funds for the wildlife charity.

The solid gold piece, which has been titled the Shere Khan Necklace, will be auctioned by the Born Free Foundation with the aim of raising at least £300,000 to help save wild tigers from extinction. The necklace has been independently valued at more than £500,000.

Taking its name from the tiger famously depicted in Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, the Shere Khan neckpiece has been made with almost 1kg of 18ct gold, and is set with 182 diamonds totalling more than 11cts. It features two tigers, male and female, with the male set with a 27ct rubellite tourmaline and the female set with a 4ct diamond.

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The necklace was handcrafted by award-winning jeweller Catherine Best, who was inspired by the work of the foundation. It has been modelled by Joanna Lumley as part of the marketing campaign to raise interest in the auction.

Lumley, who revealed her love for cats, big and small, in a programme aired on ITV last year, said of the necklace: “I feel very much that it’s almost a royal piece. The necklace is so special it can be worn with anything, though I feel a strapless evening gown and long evening gloves would show it to perfection.”

“It feels great, like a badge of office, but it’s incredibly comfortable and easy to wear. It reminds me of the fabulous pieces in the Duchess of Windsor’s collection – panthers and leopards. I adore extreme looks and this is blingtastic” she added.

The auction commenced yesterday, and will close on June 17 with a gala evening at London’s Savoy Hotel.

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