When it comes to jewellery, diamond pendants are one of today’s big favourites in the world of celebrities. Sarah Jessica Parker of ‘Sex in the City’ fame and Victoria Beckham are just two of the famous women captured by the paparazzi wearing these sparkling symbols of love.
But ask anyone who has seen James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster movie ‘Titanic’, which starred Leonard di Capro and Kate Winslet, and they will remember the poignant use of the famous ‘Heart of the Ocean’ pendant.
The necklace worn by Rose, the character played by Kate Winslet, was based on the world-famous Hope Diamond and given the French name of ‘Le Coeur de la Mer.’
The Hope Diamond itself never travelled on the ill-fated ‘Titanic’, although throughout its history it has often been seen as cursed. In 2005 the Smithsonian Institution officially confirmed that this 45.52 carat diamond was part of the French crown jewels stolen during the reign of Louis XIV.
One of the few Titanic survivors, Kate Florence Phillips, owned a sapphire necklace. Many people believe it was her jewellery that inspired the fictional blue diamond, ‘Heart of the Ocean.’ Kate was fleeing to America with Samuel Morley, her married lover, where they planned to build a new life for themselves. This was never to be, as Samuel Morley was one of the thousands to perish when the huge liner sank.
A fictional blue diamond also plays an important role in the much earlier film version of ‘Titanic,’ made in 1943. Here, the diamond is stolen, creating a dramatic break in a romance. Once again, the blue diamond is depicted as a symbol of love.
The necklace used in the 1997 version of the movie was made by top London-based jewellers, Asprey & Garrard. To create the blue diamond effect, they set blue cubic zirconium into white gold, producing a beautiful necklace that at the time was valued at around $10,000. Today the ‘Heart of the Ocean’ lives in the archives of Twentieth Century Fox, although it has often been featured in exhibits about ‘Titanic’.
During the movie’s release in 1997, Asprey Garrard were commissioned to use their original design to create an authentic ‘Heart of the Ocean’ necklace. The stunning result was a 170 carat heart-shaped sapphire, set in platinum and surrounded by 65 diamonds.
This necklace was sold during a benefit auction supporting Southern California’s Aid for AIDS and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. Its sale was on condition that Celine Dion, singer of the film’s powerful theme song ‘My Heart Will Go On,’ must wear it to the Academy Awards ceremony in 1998. Today, it is believed that this famous reproduction belongs to the daughter of one of Asprey Garrard’s wealthy clients. Less expensive reproductions have continued to be made since the movie’s release.
Like fellow actress Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, Kate Winslet again raised the profile of diamond heart-shaped pendants as a timeless symbol of love.