The 1998 hit movie, The Titanic, has renewed interest in the history
of this Ocean Liner, her passengers and her diamonds. The love
story of Rose and Jack featured the fabulous "Heart of the
Ocean" diamond necklace and other beautiful jewelry, but
what is known of the actual Titanic and it's treasures? Was there
a lost fortune in diamonds and what is known about the recovered
diamonds and jewelry?
of the treasures known to be onboard the maiden voyage of the White
Star Line Titanic was a priceless copy of the
Rubyiat of Omar Khayiam. This book of poetry was encrusted with
1,500 precious stones set in gold.
at the time reported that "there was known to be a small fortune
in diamonds aboard the Titanic." Some reports stated that 2
brothers boarded the ocean liner and carried a shipment of diamonds
from Switzerland. It is estimated the diamonds would be worth well
over $200 million today. There are also stories of family members
traveling in 2nd class to avoid notice while traveling with valuable
diamonds and jewels. What
is known for certainty, is that many of the passengers were wealthy
beyond compare and many did travel with gold and jewels.
Mackay-Bennett, a search ship, records many instances of diamonds
and jewels. One crew member told that while inspecting pockets of
one man (later identified as Austin Blyler van Billiard), "seventeen
diamonds rolled out in every direction upon the littered deck."
the artifacts recovered from underwater expeditions to the Titanic
are 2 rings - one with 60 diamonds and an exquisite Sapphire and
Diamond ring. Other treasures include an elegant 3 stone Diamond
Ring and poignantly, a bracelet with the name "Amy" spelled out
research & recovery expeditions by RMS Titanic will focus on the
leather bags of the pursers. Protocol would have the pursers load
the diamonds, gold and passenger jewelry into leather bags to be
loaded onto lifeboats. It is believed these bags would be located
near Titanic's front cargo hold.
Heart will go on... The Heart of the Ocean
Titanic movie featured Kate Winslett as Rose wearing "The
Heart of the Ocean" - a blue diamond necklace based on the
famous Hope Diamond. (the actual Hope diamond was never on the
Titanic) This stunning necklace has captured the imaginations
of romantics everywhere.
Asprey & Garrard were inspired to make a real Heart of the Ocean
diamond necklace. The result was a 170 carat heart shaped sapphire
with 65 diamonds, each 30 carats. Celine Dion wore it at the Oscar
ceremony as she sang "My Heart Will Go On" - the theme
song from Titanic during the 1998 ceremony. It was later sold at
a benefit auction for $2.2 million.
Jeweler Harry Winston created a "Heart of the Ocean" blue diamond
necklace. The $20 million necklace was worn by Gloria Stuart, who
portrayed Rose as an older woman.