top of page
  • Writer's pictureValerieBound

Learn the real story behind a famous Hollywood necklace

Woot woot gem gals! This weekend is the Emmys! So of course I’m thinking about Hollywood. And since we’re talking about famous sapphires, I wanted us all to think back to the movie “Titanic.” And yes, it was waaaaaay back in 1997, and yes, I’m old. But I loved that movie, and I still cry every time I watch it! Remember “the Heart of the Ocean,” the gorgeous blue necklace that Kate Winslet wore? Did you ever wonder about the real story behind that stone in the movie?

<img class=" wp-image-1216 lazyload" src="" alt="" width="508" height="220" srcset=" 848w, 300w, 768w, 370w" sizes="(max-width: 508px) 100vw, 508px" /> Ooooh, Kate, that necklace is all you need….

In the movie, they say the necklace belonged to French king Louis XVI. And after the French Revolution, it was cut into a heart shape. (This is actually the story of the blue Hope Diamond, which you can read about here.) Kate’s wealthy fiancé presents it to her as an engagement gift. I won’t say anything more if you are one of the few people on the planet who have not seen this movie. But the necklace figures into some key plot points. (And really, you need to see the movie! It’s sooooooo good!)

The story of the real sapphire necklace is different. It still involves lovers coming to America. And unfortunately, a sad ending.

A Torrid Love Affair

This is what the real sapphire necklace actually looked like this:

<img class="wp-image-1270 size-full lazyload" title="original necklace that inspired the story behind the necklace in the movie The Titanic" src="" alt="" width="203" height="152"> The necklace that inspired the story of The Titanic.

It is now called “The Love of the Sea,” with a rectangular sapphire set in platinum and surrounded by diamonds. The pendant was pretty small, only about an inch long. It was given to a woman named Kate Florence Phillips, by her lover, Henry Samuel Morley. Henry was a wealthy business owner, and 20 years older than Kate. She apparently worked in one of his confectionery stores, and they fell madly in love. Henry left his wife and child and was all set to begin a new life with Kate in America.

Aboard the Titanic

The lovers even boarded the Titanic under different names, calling themselves Mr. and Mrs. Marshall. When the Titanic was sinking, Kate was able to get into a lifeboat. She survived, but poor Henry drowned. Kate went back to England with her necklace, which she had been wearing when the Titanic went down. She also discovered she was pregnant about four weeks later. Without a father for her baby, she moved in with her parents. They helped raise her child, a daughter named Ellen Mary Walker.

Ellen, who died in 2006, sold the necklace to a friend. Later, the necklace was acquired by a group called the Nomadic Preservation Society. The Nomadic was an English ship that ferried passengers out to the Titanic. Although the necklace was on display after the movie’s success, it is now locked up away in a vault someplace.

This story, the real one, is what inspired James Cameron (the filmmaker) to create Rose and Jack.

Movie versus Real Life

In the movie, the necklace was obviously not sapphire or diamond. It was made up of cubic zirconia. Even the big blue center stone was a cubic zirconia. They work well on screen because they are so shiny and sparkly.

There were actually three necklaces that were made for the movie. One was used almost exclusively, one was used just once, and one not at all. The one used throughout the movie is currently on display in James Cameron’s office, along with props from his other films.

The Oscars

Harry Winston made a real replica after the film was so wildly successful, with a 15 carat blue diamond surrounded by diamonds. This was the necklace that Gloria Stuart, the woman who played the older Rose in the movie, wore to the Oscars. Supposedly, it’s worth about $250 million, making it the most expensive piece of jewelry ever worn to the Oscars. Wow!

<img class=" wp-image-1290 lazyload" src="" alt="" width="278" height="407" srcset=" 419w, 205w, 370w" sizes="(max-width: 278px) 100vw, 278px" /> Gloria Stuart wearing a necklace designed by Harry Winston

Another replica was made by the company that did the necklace designs for the movie. They created a heart-shaped sapphire, at a cool 171 carats, set in platinum, surrounded by 103 diamonds. Celine Dion wore this version to the 1998 Oscars. It was later sold to a private client for $1.4 million.

<img class=" wp-image-1292 lazyload" src="" alt="" width="271" height="398" srcset=" 681w, 204w, 370w" sizes="(max-width: 271px) 100vw, 271px" /> Celin Dion wearing a specially created replica for the 1998 Oscars.

Get Your Own “Heart of the Ocean”

Obviously, we all couldn’t afford to wear anything close to the real replicas created. But the market was able to offer plenty of heart-shaped blue stone rings and necklaces. Many used Austrian crystals (a fancy term for plain old glass) for the blue center stones and zircon for the surrounding “diamonds.” You can find examples for less than $20, and other examples for thousands. It all depends on the materials you use to make the item.

<img class=" wp-image-1299 lazyload" src="" alt="" width="259" height="259" srcset=" 1080w, 150w, 300w, 768w, 1024w, 370w, 1040w" sizes="(max-width: 259px) 100vw, 259px" /> An example of replica jewelry inspired by The Titanic

So…. what do YOU think? Want to have your own piece of the Titanic story? As always, you can count on Amazon to have it!

[easyazon_infoblock align=”center” identifier=”B007S4UTIO” locale=”US” tag=”vathgega-20″]


Have an idea for a post?

Tell me.


I love to hear from readers.

bottom of page