Heart of the Ocean

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The Original Heart of the Ocean Necklace on Display in James Cameron's office.

The Heart of the Ocean (also known as Le Cœur de la Mer) is the name of a fictional blue diamond featured prominently in the 1997 film Titanic. In the story, the diamond was originally owned by Louis XVI and cut into a heart shape after the French Revolution. In the film the necklace was purchased by Caledon Hockley, played by Billy Zane, a week before he sailed on the ill-fated ocean liner Titanic. The necklace was meant to be given as an engagement present to his fiancée Rose, played by Kate Winslet and Gloria Stuart. It is believed that both Rose and the necklace went down with the ship, leading some of the main characters to believe the necklace lies somewhere within the wreckage of the Titanic.

Origin[edit]

The story of the Hope Diamond bears many similarities to the story of the Heart of the Ocean with the obvious exception of the Hope Diamond not actually having been on board the Titanic. In the 1953 film Titanic, a blue diamond plays an important role in a love affair as well. A primary plot point in this earlier film is the theft of the diamond, which creates a dramatic break in a romantic relationship which is similar to the 1997 film.

1997 film[edit]

The drawing of Rose wearing the Heart of the Ocean.

In the 1997 film a fictional treasure hunter, Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton), searches for a priceless blue diamond necklace which he believes lies within the wreck of the RMS Titanic. Lovett explains that the necklace was fashioned from a large blue diamond worn by Louis XVI in his royal crown. Shortly after the King's execution in 1793, the diamond was cut into a heart shape and became known as the Heart of the Ocean. The story of the Heart of the Ocean is similar to the story of the Hope Diamond, except the Hope Diamond was worn by Louis XIV in a royal necklace. Lovett's hunch about the diamond's whereabouts seems to be confirmed when his team salvages a drawing in which a nude woman is wearing the necklace. The drawing is dated April 14, 1912, the day the Titanic sank.

Later on an elderly woman (Gloria Stuart) watches Lovett's discovery on the news and immediately contacts the salvage team. Claiming to be both the woman in the picture and Rose Dewitt Bukater she is immediately flown out to Lovett's salvage ship. Rose requests to view the recovered drawing and Lovett shows her some artifacts salvaged from the wreck, specifically those recovered from her stateroom on Titanic. During this scene Lovett reveals the origins of the diamond and that if it is recovered the Heart of the Ocean would be worth more than the Hope Diamond. While examining an ornate butterfly comb, Rose becomes emotional and begins detailing her time aboard the Titanic. During the film the audience's perspective alternates between the past and present as Rose shares her memories. Rose divulges the intimate details of her relationship with the artist of the drawing, Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), which leads up to the night of the sinking.

On the night of the sinking the diamond changes hands a few times between Rose and Jack, resulting in Jack being framed of its theft by Rose's fiancé Cal. As the ship starts to list dramatically it becomes quite clear that the unsinkable Titanic will indeed sink. With this in mind Rose's fiancé, Cal, returns to the suite and empties the safe placing the precious gem in his overcoat. Later on Cal puts this same coat on Rose as she enters a lifeboat, forgetting about the diamond in its pocket. It is not thoroughly stated whether or not Rose (Gloria Stuart) tells Brock Lovett about Cal emptying his safe along with the diamond, it is assumed she doesn't as Lovett doesn't have any follow up questions. At the end of the film, Rose walks alone to the stern of the salvage ship and opens her hands revealing both the necklace and Rose's identity as Rose Dewitt Bukater. While examining the necklace, Rose has a flashback to 1912 on her arrival in New York and discovers the necklace in the overcoat. Returning to the present, Rose, with a smile, drops the necklace from her hand into the water presumably above the Titanic wreck site.[1]

Design[edit]

London-based jewelers Asprey & Garrard used cubic zirconias set in white gold[2] to create an Edwardian-style necklace to be used as a prop in the film. Asprey & Garrard produced and designed the necklaces: the result was three different and unique designs. Two of their designs were used in the film while the other went unused until after the film had been released. The three necklaces are commonly known as the original prop, the J. Peterman necklace, and the Asprey necklace. The three necklaces are all very similar but have distinguishable differences.

A replica inspired by the original prop.

The Original Necklace[edit]

The original necklace was the necklace seen throughout the film. This necklace has a large London-blue stone cut into a trillion/cleftless heart surrounded by white round cut cubic zirconias set in white gold. The chain is composed of a mix of round, pear, and marquise cut white cubic zirconias. The bail on this necklace was a heart cut white cubic zirconia attached to a white round cut stone which was attached to the cage on the main stone. The necklace is owned today by a private collector, and is currently being lent to James Cameron to display next to props from his other films. The necklace is available to view during tours of his office in California.[3]

The J. Peterman Necklace[edit]

Due to The J. Peterman Company's acquisition of this particular necklace through the sale of props from the film, this design is often referred to as the J. Peterman design, though officially the necklace does not hold this designation. This particular design is another blue cubic zirconia; however, it is cut into the shape of a heart rather than a trillion cut. The main stone is surrounded by round cut cubic zirconias and features a white round cut stone at the top where it attaches to the chain. The chain is composed of white round cut cubic zirconias, with a larger inverted pear cut cubic zirconia as the bail. This particular design is featured in the film for a brief moment when Caledon retrieves the necklace from his safe during the sinking, this is the only time the necklace is seen on screen. This particular necklace is believed to still be in the possession of the J. Peterman Company.

The Asprey & Garrard Necklace[edit]

The third and final design was not used in the film. After the film's success, Asprey & Garrard were commissioned to create an authentic Heart of the Ocean necklace using the original design. The result was a platinum-set, 171-carat (34.2 g) heart-shaped Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 103 diamonds.[2] This design featured a much larger inverted pear shaped Ceylon sapphire with a subtle cleft to resemble a heart. The chain for this necklace also featured a mix of round, pear, and marquise cut white diamonds. The bail also featured a heart cut white diamond with another round cut diamond attached to an inverted pear shape diamond which was then attached to the cage of the main stone. The necklace was donated to Sotheby's auction house in Beverly Hills for an auction benefiting the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and Southern California's Aid For AIDS. It was sold to an unidentified Asprey client[4] for $1.4 million, under the agreement that Celine Dion would wear it two nights later at the 1998 Academy Awards ceremony. This necklace has since not been made available for public viewing.

Reproductions[edit]

An example of one of the many replicas made by the J. Peterman Company back in 1998.

After the release of the film in 1998, The J. Peterman Company sold less expensive reproductions. Their necklace consisted of 137 Austrian crystals and a detachable, inauthentic "blue diamond" pendant packaged in a navy blue, hinged presentation box.[5] This is the only officially licensed reproduction of the necklace. This particular replica can still be found on the secondary market, although likely in used condition. There are many other unofficial inspired reproductions available on the secondary market ranging from as little as five dollars to thousands of dollars.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Clarke, James (14 May 2014). The Cinema of James Cameron: Bodies in Heroic Motion. Columbia University Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-231-85062-9. 
  2. ^ a b Davidson, Terry (March 11, 1998). "Real 'Titanic' Necklace to Benefit Diana's Trust: Movie's Paste Necklace Recreated with Real Jewels" (Interview). Interview with Diane Sawyer. 
  3. ^ costumes, yourprops.com, movie props and. "Titanic Heart of the Ocean original movie prop". www.yourprops.com. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  4. ^ Van Der Voort, Jane (February 11, 2001). "Heart Of The Matter". The Toronto Sun. [page needed]
  5. ^ "J. Peterman Co. Finds Merchandising 'Jewel' in 'Titanic'; 'Heart of the Ocean' Necklace To Be Sold Through Company's Catalog". Business Wire. March 23, 1998. [page needed]