Famous Jewelry In The Movies, Vol 1: Titanic
In the movie, the now eponymous necklace, which was called La Coeur de la Mer (Heart of the Sea) was modeled after the Hope Diamond but was in fact not a diamond at all. The movie prop was made by Asprey & Garrad, a London jeweler, and it was really a blue cubic zirconium in a white gold setting. However, for the 1998 Academy Awards, in which the actress Gloria Stuart, who played the older Rose in the movie, Harry Winston created a real pendant, which was worn by Gloria to the awards (photo above). It is still one of the most expensive pieces ever worn to the awards ceremony (and that’s saying something!), valued at $4M and made up of a 170ct sapphire surrounded by 103 diamonds.
What many don’t realize is there was a real necklace storyline on the Titanic. Twenty-two-year-old passenger Kate Florence Phillips was given a sapphire and diamond necklace by Henry Samuel Morley, a forty-year old married man who traveled with Kate in second class. Henry had sold his two London candy shops (at one of which Miss Kate worked) and given the proceeds to his wife and twelve-year-old daughter. He and Kate were running away to America, where they planned to marry under assumed names. Kate made it. Henry didn’t. For a few months, Kate lived with a couple who had taken her in, but upon finding out she was pregnant, Kate returned to England to have her daughter Ellen (born almost nine months to the date of the fateful voyage), who in the end was raised by her great-grandparents. Kate, a restless soul, eventually remarried. Ellen fought hard to have Henry’s name listed on her birth certificate but was never successful. Kate wasn’t very good to Ellen and in the end, due to financial difficulties, Ellen had to sell the necklace to an undisclosed woman in Florida. She died in 2005 in Worcester, England at age 92.