Born Free announces Living with Tigers appeal with the sale of Shere Khan necklace

Founder patron Joanna Lumley models the necklace, designed by award-winning jeweller Catherine Best

* Founder patron Joanna Lumley, who has supported the Born Free since its formation in 1984, models the Shere Khan necklace

Born Free founder patron Joanna Lumley is redefining the term ‘statement jewellery’ as she models award-winning jeweller Catherine Best’s unique Shere Khan necklace in aid of the wildlife foundation’s latest appeal. Valued at more than £500,000, the necklace is inspired by The Jungle Book’s famous tiger and is a unique piece.

The Born Free Foundation is selling the necklace for £300,000, all to raise funds for the Living with Tigers appeal. The initiative brings together a network of seven Indian NGOs working across the country’s central Satpuda region, where an estimated 500 of India’s 2,000 tigers live. These organisations aim to tackle tiger poaching, safeguard the animal’s natural habitats and help create solutions whereby local communities and natural wildlife can live together peacefully.

“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. The moment you put the necklace on, it comes alive," said Lumley of the necklace. “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!” 

The necklace depicts two tigers, male and female, in nearly a kilo of 18ct gold and set with 182 diamonds and gemstones. They are linked with strings of 11.95ct of round diamond and more than 7ct of emeralds, and each hold a heart in its paws – the male tiger holds a 27ct rubellite tourmaline and the female an impressive 4ct diamond. >>

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* Designer Catherine Best described the £300,000 necklace as a once-in-the-lifetime project, and she and her team took months hand selecting the perfect gems for the piece

“A century ago there were an estimated 100,000 tigers across Asia. Since then, numbers have collapsed to just 4,000,” said Born Free CEO Howard Jones. “Though the tiger is instantly recognisable and one of nature’s most charismatic and revered animals – promoted in cultures the world over – it is also persecuted and killed with alarming prejudice and brutality.”

Designer Catherine Best described the necklace as a once-in-the-lifetime project, and she and her team took months hand selecting the perfect gems for the piece. Born Free CEO Howard Jones said of the necklace: “The sale of the Shere Khan necklace would help us tremendously in continuing our Living with Tigers programme and help to safeguard these magnificent animals moving forward. It’s an investment for both the buyer and the future of wild tigers.”

Joanna Lumley, who has supported the foundation since its formation in 1984, said of her commitment to the charity: “Wild life should be allowed to live in the wild, uncontaminated by humans and protected as far as we can, in the seas and mountains, deserts and forests, and woodlands and waysides.”

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