The tragic tale of the Titanic has been cemented in our hearts and memories by James Cameron’s classic film, centered on the doomed young love of Jack and Rose. The depiction is so moving and dramatic that many believe the story to be entirely Hollywood fiction, but they would be incorrect – even the Heart of the Ocean was based on a real necklace. In the movie, the Heart of the Ocean is an impressive blue diamond completely encircled by glittering diamonds. The diamond is said to be larger than the Hope Diamond and was allegedly owned by Louis XVI. In reality, the necklace was a stunning sapphire surrounded by diamonds and aptly named the Love of the Sea.
The elegant gem belonged to nineteen year-old Kate Florence Phillips whose paramour Henry Samuel Morley, twenty years her senior (and Kate’s boss), bestowed the necklace upon her as token of his love. Henry had purchased second-class tickets under the pseudonym Mr. and Mrs. Marshall for the two lovebirds so they could elope to San Francisco. Henry was already married and had a young daughter back in England, but had fallen for his bewitching shop assistant. Kate proudly wore the Love of the Sea in the dining rooms of the Titanic and even as the ship hit the iceberg and began its fateful demise, Kate was wearing her precious necklace. Morley could not swim and he sadly drowned, but Kate survived with only the necklace. A heart-wrenching story, not unlike the Hollywood film!
Many reproductions of the necklace have been made, some more expensive and desirable than others. The original Heart of the Ocean necklace seen throughout the film, and worn by the enchanting Kate Winslet, was a prop mainly composed of cubic zirconia. However, after the film’s success, Asprey & Garrard were commissioned to create an authentic version of the necklace replete with a 171-carat heart-shaped Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 103 diamonds. Celine Dion proudly wore the necklace to the 1998 Academy Awards ceremony where she performed the film’s passionate and beloved theme song, “My Heart Will Go On.”
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