The True Story of the Heart of the Ocean
The movie "Titanic" may have revolved around several fanciful stories, but Rose's fabulous gift, the Heart of the Ocean, wasn't one of them. Not completely.
The real diamond, on which the Heart of the Ocean seems to be based, is the Blue Heart. A rare deep blue, it weighs over 30 carats and was cut in France sometime between 1909 and 1910. You'd think this diamond, like its blue companion, the Hope, would have some sort of dramatic story attached to it. But unlike that supposedly cursed stone, the Blue Heart seems to be a benevolent diamond, bringing its owners only its beauty.
No one knows where the stone originated, but the date points to Africa or India. The jeweler Cartier bought it in 1910, when it was set in a brooch for a Brazilian socialite. When Van Cleef & Arpels bought it in 1953, it was reset in a pendant.
In all the history of jewelry designs, nothing catches the imagination like Harry Winston's famous 25-diamond surround for the Blue Heart. He bought the stone in 1964 and restyled it into a memorable heart-shaped ring. The buyer was a true lover of jewels, the great collector Marjorie Merriweather Post. Thank goodness Mrs. Post never dropped it in the sea. Instead, she donated the Blue Heart to the Smithsonian. You can see it there, glittering in its mysterious azure depths, still surrounded by its white diamond setting.
We've said it was a benevolent diamond, but there's a hint of a troubled past. The Blue Heart is also called the Eugenie Diamond because legend has it that it was once owned by Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III. However, after her husband's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Eugenie had to flee France. It's unlikely that she would have left this fabulous jewel behind, especially as she seems to have taken her other famous diamond, the Eugenie, with her. Eugenie's considerable jewel collection was later owned by her close friend and fellow jewel collector Aimee de Heeren. However, de Heeren never claimed to have owned the gem.
But the writers of "Titanic" must have seen the Heart, dazzling visitors in its case at the Smithsonian, and thought, "What if..."
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