The True Story of the Real 'Heart of the Ocean'
There are several gemstones that have gone down in history. For instance, the Hope Diamond, the Graff Pink, and Princess Diana's engagement ring. However, few pieces of jewelry are shrouded in such mystery and romance as the famous Heart of the Ocean necklace.
The Heart of the Ocean, though famous for its appearance in the movie The Titanic, was a real necklace with its own romantic story. The necklace was gifted between a starry-eyed couple traveling onboard The Titanic, but its story is a little different than James Cameron's version.
The Story of the Heart of the Ocean
Just like in the movie, the Heart of the Ocean is a necklace whose history is closely intertwined with the famous ocean liner The Titanic. However, the story goes a little bit differently than it does in the Hollywood flick.
The Heart of the Ocean wasn't a heart-shaped necklace, but it did contain the same stones as the movie version. And, just like in the movie, the necklace was gifted to a young girl.
The Tragedy of the Heart of the Ocean
However, the true lovers involved in the story of the Heart of the Ocean weren't Jack and Rose. Instead, they were a 20-year-old girl named Kate Florence Phillips and her lover, Henry Samuel Morley.
Morley was a 40-year-old married man who owned a confectionary in London. Kate was his young employee and secret mistress.
The pair had decided that they wanted to start a new life together and had chosen to elope aboard The Titanic under the names Mr. and Mrs. Marshall.
To show his love and devotion to his new bride, Henry gave young Kate the Heart of the Ocean. It was his way of showing her that he was ready for the new life that awaited them in America.
Alas, that new life never came. On April 15, 1912, the ocean liner slipped into the ocean, carrying Henry Morley with it.
Kate was one of the lucky ones and was rescued by Lifeboat No.11. She was wearing nothing but the necklace and a thin nightgown to protect her from the harsh ocean spray and freezing winds.
After Kate made it to shore, she decided it was time to start her new life, even if it meant doing so without her beloved. She moved to New York and proceeded to live with a young couple who had offered to take her in.
While living with her rescuers, Kate discovered that she was pregnant. Since the couple didn't want to care for both Kate and the new baby, Kate was forced to move back to England to live with her grandparents.
The new baby arrived shortly after Kate made it back to England and was named Ellen Mary. However, haunted by the memory of the baby's father, Kate left her new daughter in the care of her grandparents.
Kate, who treated her new daughter much like Cinderella's evil stepmother did, went on to remarry eventually. She rarely talked about her daughter's father and didn't reveal the sordid details until the girl was grown up.
Kate, who had treasured the Heart of the Ocean for years, eventually left it to her new daughter.
Ellen and The Heart of the Ocean
Once Ellen discovered who her father was, she tried in vain to have his name added to her birth certificate. However, she wasn't able to do so successfully.
After inheriting her mother's necklace, she fell into hard times. This was during the 1990s, and she was forced to sell the Heart of the Ocean to help get by. The new owner was a woman who lived in Florida.
Ellen spent much of her life trying to prove her father's identity. She went on to have children of her own and passed down the tragic yet romantic story of her mother and her necklace to her family.
What Does the Heart of the Ocean Symbolize?
There is a lot of symbolism surrounding the Heart of the Ocean, both the real gemstone and the fictional one. Both tales are surrounded by romance and tragedy, despite their differences.
The Fictional Gem
The fictional heart of the ocean was meant to symbolize Rose's heart. We can infer this from her subtle line, "A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets."
Rose viewed the necklace as a way to remember her time with Jack and the secret affair she was having. As one final ode to their time together, she throws the jewel back into the ocean where its secrets will be guarded forever.
The Real Gem
The real Heart of the Ocean also has some symbolism surrounding it. We can find this symbolism by looking at the meaning of colors and those selected for this necklace.
The beautiful deep blue of the sapphire represents luxury and was a color traditionally worn by the wealthy. In addition, blue has long been associated with despair and sadness.
Another interesting fact about the Heart of the Ocean is that it contains the same colors as Princess Diana's engagement ring. This similarity to another tragic tale further underscores the sadness that the ring symbolizes.
What Stone Is the Heart of the Ocean?
The fictional Heart of the Ocean was made of a blue, heart-shaped diamond. It was surrounded by smaller white diamonds, creating a stunning necklace that was said to have been worn by Louis XVI.
However, the real Heart of the Ocean was made out of some very different stones. The real Heart of the Ocean stone is actually a blue sapphire.
There is some debate as to whether the blue sapphire was natural or not. By 1902, just ten years before the tragedy of The Titanic, jewelers were already making synthetic gemstones.
Just like the fictional Heart of the Ocean, the real necklace also featured several smaller diamonds. The diamonds surrounded the sapphire stone in a square pattern.
The Fictional Heart of the Ocean
Even though there was no real Heart of the Ocean necklace, the producers did commission a necklace to be made as a prop for the film. However, considering the high cost of a real Heart of the Ocean, the replica did not contain the same jewels.
The movie Heart of the Ocean was made using cubic zirconia rather than real diamonds. Cubic zirconia is considerably less expensive than diamonds and was more attainable for the purposes of the movie.
The metal used on the Heart of the Ocean was white gold. White gold is considerably cheaper than platinum but still offers that beautiful bright silver color.
Who Made the Heart of the Ocean?
Although we don't know the maker of the real Heart of the Ocean, we do know who made several replicas of the gem. After James Cameron's film took off, many jewelers created valuable replicas of the necklace.
The Asprey & Gerard Replica
One such replica was made by a jewelry company called Asprey & Gerard. Thanks to the popularity of the movie, fans began to clamor for reproductions of the famous diamond necklace.
The first replica that was crafted was originally created as a donation to the Sotheby charity auction. It was made out of a 171-carat sapphire that the jewelers cut into a heart shape to mimic the cut of the stone in the film.
The jewelers then placed 103 diamond accents around the sapphire. The diamonds were set into a beautiful platinum necklace.
The necklace was very appropriately worn by Celine Dion to the Academy Awards in 1998. Celine Dion is the singer of the main theme song of The Titanic, "My Heart Will Go On."
The Harry Winston Replica
Asprey & Gerard wasn't the only jeweler to make a replica of the Heart of the Ocean. Harry Winston is famously the owner of the Hope Diamond, the Briolette of India, and several other legendary jewels.
Harry Winston chose to make his own version of the movie's Heart of the Ocean necklace. He used a 15-carat blue diamond as the centerpiece for the necklace.
Then, he surrounded the necklace in beautiful white diamonds. The result was worth over ten times the Asprey & Gerard version was worth thanks to its high level of care and professional design.
To honor his new piece of jewelry, Henry Winston allowed Gloria Stuart to wear the necklace to the Academy Awards in 1998. Gloria was the ideal person to wear this jewelry because of her role as the elderly Rose in the movie The Titanic.
Was the Real Heart of the Ocean Ever Found?
Thanks to the fact that Kate Phillips carefully guarded her precious necklace, the Heart of the Ocean never actually went missing. As such, there was no need to hunt for the real gem the way divers did in the film!
Instead, the necklace was passed down from Kate to her daughter. When it eventually left the care of the family, it made its way to a museum.
Thankfully, since the gemstone is safely in the care of a museum, we won't have to organize any wild diving expeditions to find this beautiful necklace. Instead, we can continue to enjoy the treasure for years to come.
Real Jewelry Found on the Titanic
While the Heart of the Ocean was never actually lost, there were other pieces of jewelry that were lost onboard the Titanic.
One such piece of jewelry is a locket that was found onboard the ocean liner. The locket contained a photo of two lovers who sank to the ocean floor along with their cruise ship.
Where Is the Real Heart of the Ocean Necklace?
So, we know that the Heart of the Ocean was thrown back into the sea in the blockbuster movie. However, the fate of the real Heart of the Ocean is quite different.
When Ellen Mary ran into difficult times and was forced to sell her mother's necklace, it ventured quite far from home. She sold her necklace to a woman living in Florida.
The woman held onto the gemstone until her death. After she passed away, the necklace was donated to the Titanic museum in Belfast.
Visitors to the museum can still take in the beauty and grandeur of this gemstone. However, they'll note immediately that it looks quite different from the fictional version in the film.
How Much Is the Heart of the Ocean Worth Today?
If the Heart of the Ocean had been a real necklace, it would have been valued at a whopping 350 million dollars! That's a huge amount of money, which is probably why the filmmakers chose not to recreate the actual piece of jewelry.
The cheaper version that was crafted for the film's purposes was made for just over $9,000. It is still stored in the film's studio, despite its high value as a piece of jewelry.
The various replicas of the Heart of the Ocean are also quite valuable. For example, Henry Winston's version of this precious necklace is valued at $20 million!
The other famous replica of the Heart of the Ocean, crafted by Asprey & Gerard, was valued at $2.2 million. Its lower price tag is due to the lower quality of the materials used and the different stones in the necklace.
A Truth Stranger Than Fiction
It's often said that truth is stranger than fiction, and when it comes to the Heart of the Ocean, that's certainly true. This necklace has become legendary in pop culture, and its tale is one that will certainly live on.
Do you want to purchase your own precious necklace as a gift for a loved one or a treasure for yourself? Browse our products to find beautiful gemstone pieces.