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The Heart of the Ocean Sapphire Necklace Will Go On

The Heart of the Ocean Necklace
The Heart of the Ocean Necklace

The 1997 Hollywood blockbuster, "Titanic", about the eponymous ship of enormous proportions, starring Kate Winslet as "Rose" and Leonardo DiCaprio as "Jack", is known all over the world. It was the most expensive movie ever made at the time, the first to gross over a billion dollars and won eleven Oscars. The mere mention of the title brings to mind a certain Celine Dion song and an iconic piece of jewelry known as "The Heart of the Ocean Necklace".

For the minority who are not aware of the plot, here's a quick recap. In the movie, the necklace is an engagement present given to Rose by her wealthy fiancé, Cal. Later, Jack draws a picture of Rose wearing only the necklace. After Rose realizes that she is in love with Jack, she returns the necklace to Cal. In an attempt to incriminate Jack, Cal has the necklace put into Jack's pocket and then accuses Jack of theft and takes the necklace back. Later, when disaster strikes, Cal gives his coat to Rose, forgetting that the necklace is in the pocket. The necklace remains with Rose for many years until as an elderly lady she travels to revisit the site of the sunken Titanic on the ship of treasure hunter, Brock Lovett, who had contacted her after discovering the sketch of her wearing the necklace. Rose drops the valuable jewel overboard and then later dies peacefully, her soul reunited with Jack's. In the movie, the blue gemstone was a blue diamond owned by Louis XVI. This has sparked some interest in the real story behind the jewel.

Kate Winslet Wearing the Heart of the Ocean Necklace
Kate Winslet Wearing the Heart of the Ocean Necklace

According to director James Cameron, the Heart of the Ocean Necklace did not really exist and was engineered into the plot to allow the treasure hunter to meet Rose, a survivor of the Titanic, and hear her story. The diamond in the necklace is based on the Hope Diamond, the story of which is not intertwined with that of the Titanic. The Heart of the Ocean ("Coeur de la Mer") Necklace used in the film was made by Asprey & Garrard of London. It was fashioned out of an inexpensive blue quartz gemstone. However, following the commercial success of the movie, Asprey & Garrard made a new, more impressive necklace, with a 170-carat sapphire and 65 white diamonds. This precious gemstone necklace was auctioned to an anonymous buyer for $2.2 million at a charity ball for the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and Aid for AIDS. The necklace was lent to Celine Dion for her 1998 performance of "My Heart Will Go On" at the Oscars.

Since the appearance of the Heart of the Ocean Necklace, many replicas have been made. One of the most remarkable necklaces inspired by the film was a 15-carat blue diamond necklace made by Harry Winston. The $20 million necklace was worn by actress, Gloria Stuart, who played the older Rose in the Titanic movie, to the 1998 Academy Awards. At the time, this was the most valuable item of jewelry ever worn to the awards ceremony. This was surpassed in 1999 by Whoopi Goldberg, who hosted the show and reportedly wore $41 million dollars' worth of Harry Winston jewels as part of her Queen Elizabeth I costume. One 107-carat white diamond ring alone that she wore was worth $15 million.

Gloria Stuart Wearing the Harry Winston Blue Diamond Necklace
Gloria Stuart Wearing the Harry Winston Blue Diamond Necklace

A story has emerged of a blue sapphire necklace called "The Love of the Sea". This was an octagonal sapphire set in platinum and surrounded by diamonds, which belonged to Kate Florence Phillips who was onboard the Titanic with her married lover, Henry Samuel Morley, who owned "Purveyors of High Class Confectionery" shops in London, one of which Kate worked at as an assistant. The pair planned to start a new life together in the USA.

The Love of the Sea Necklace had been fastened around Kate's neck by Henry before the Titanic sank. Sadly, Henry was lost in the freezing sea, but Kate boarded a lifeboat and made it to US shores where she stayed for four months. After the discovery that she was pregnant, Kate returned to the UK, where her grandparents helped to raise her daughter, Ellen, who inherited the Love of the Sea. The necklace was later sold to a collector of Titanic artifacts by Ellen. The pendant was later acquired by a member of the Nomadic Trust, an organization responsible for the restoration of the SS Nomadic, which was built as a tender to the Titanic. The historic vessel was opened to the public in 2013 and the Love of the Sea Necklace displayed along with other artifacts in an exhibition of the "Titanic's little sister", where it is believed to remain to this day, over one hundred years after the fateful transatlantic journey of the ill-fated ship.

  • First Published: February-02-2015
  • Last Updated: February-07-2022
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