Joanna Lumley has modelled a necklace to help raise money to protect endangered tigers.

The 'Absolutely Fabulous' actress posed for photographer John Swannell wearing the solid gold, diamond-encrusted Shere Khan Necklace, which is hoped to raise at least £300,000 for the Born Free Foundation.

Designed by Catherine Best to depict the tiger in Rudyard Kipling's 'Jungle Book', the jewellery holds 182 precious stones set in nearly a kilo of 18ct gold and has been valued at over half a million pounds.

Joanna described the necklace as "blingtastic" and compared it to pieces worn by members of the royal family.

She said: "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!

"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 Sher Khan Necklace will be auctioned worldwide from May 31 Until June 17, when a gala evening will be held at the Savoy Hotel in London to mark the 80th birthday of actress Virginia McKenna, who founded the Born Free Foundation.