The Heart of the Ocean is the name of the fictional blue diamond necklace feature in James Cameron’s Titanic (1997). The iconic prop was an integral image in the plot, and is now synonymous with the Oscar winning movie.
The film starts in present day 1996, with Brock Lovett, a treasure hunter, and his team searching the wreck of the RMS Titanic, with the aim of finding the Heart of the Ocean necklace. After discovering a safe that includes a drawing of a young women wearing only the necklace, they soon discover the lady in the picture is Rose Dawson Calvert.
The Heart of the Ocean necklace allows the audience to go back in time to 1912, Southampton, where we they are introduced to Jack Dawson – Rose’s soul mate. We later learn that the expensive Heart of the Ocean necklace was presented to her by her fiancé, Cal Hockley, as an engagement present. However, it is Jack who sketches the romantic picture of Rose wearing just the necklace.
The film, which was inspired by the real-life events of the ill-fated RMS Titanic, was the highest grossing movie of all time until Avatar, another James Cameron film. It’s popularity led to Asprey and Garrard, a London-based jewellers to commission an authentic Heart of the Ocean necklace based on the original design.
The finished blue heart shape necklace included Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 103 diamonds and a 171 carat platinum setting. The replica necklace, which used the original design, was valued at US$20 million and donated to Sotheby’s auction house in Beverley Hills. As a result, it was sold at auction for $17 million under an agreement that Celine Dion, who sung the movie’s soundtrack, would wear it for the 1998 Academy Awards ceremony. The profits from the sale were donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and Aid for AIDS.
While the Heart of the Ocean necklace is fictitious, it appears art imitated life when a story came to light about two real-life passengers aboard the RMS Titanic: Kate Florence Phillips and Henry Samuel Morley.
Kate was an assistant working for Henry’s shop, Purveyors of High Class Confectionery, and they were both secretly travelling together aboard the Titanic as second class passengers, with the aim of starting a new life together in America under the names of Mr and Mrs. Marshall.
Mr Marshall, who was twenty years Ms Phillips junior at the age of 40, had sold two of his shops before sailing on the Titanic and had given the profits to his wife and 12 year old daughter. He also purchase a stunning diamond and sapphire necklace, which he presented to his new love before they set sail.
However, the events aboard the RMS Titanic would tear the couple away from each other, as Morley was unable to swim in the North Atlantic ocean, whilst Kate was rescued by Lifeboat 11. After living with a couple in New York once she returned to America, she was forced to return home to England as she was pregnant with a baby girl.
The diamond and sapphire necklace was shown at a Titanic display in Belfast for many years. However, it was sold to a woman in Florida, USA.