By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com

Count me among the many who will be soaking up all the Titanic lore available over the next couple of weeks as the 100th anniversary of the luxury liner’s fateful maiden voyage approaches.

032312_Graff,-Michelle-blog-shotMuch about this tragedy-- one of the deadliest peacetime accidents in maritime history -- already has been documented in numerous books and movies, perhaps the most commercially well-known among them being the 1997 James Cameron blockbuster called simply Titanic.

The milestone anniversary of the ship’s sinking on April 15, 1912, however, promises to bring about a fresh round of interest in the famed shipwreck.

National Geographic published a special Titanic issue, one company is offering a chance to view the wreckage in a submersible (price tag: $60,000) and Cameron’s Titanic is being re-released, in 3D of course.

Given the amount of wealth on board the ship, and the amazing jewels that likely went down with it, it’s no surprise that players in the jewelry industry are getting into the 100th anniversary act as well.

In January, Jewelry Television unveiled a “Titanic Jewelry Collection.” Each piece represents a different, famous passenger of the luxury liner and is modeled in that turn-of-the-century style. The flower pendant pictured here, "Dorothy's Broadway Rose," was created for Dorothy Winifred Gibson, an actress and singer who survived the sinking. 011812_Titanic-Broadway


The Knoxville, Tenn.-based network said that the collection sold out in less than an hour. Earlier this month, Jewelry Television added a contest component to the collection offering a grand prize pack worth $5,000.

Jewelry brand Charriol is teaming with Nordstrom and Paramount Pictures to support the release of Titanic 3D.

Just last week, I received similar notification from Jewelry Television competitor QVC, announcing that the company is teaming up with RMS Titanic Inc., the only company permitted to recover objects from the wreck site, on a line of products inspired by recovered artifacts or passengers’ belongings called “Legacy 1912-Titanic.”


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The selection includes jewelry, such as this sterling silver diamond filigree cuff (left), modeled after a Titanic passenger’s evening bag that retails for $499. QVC’s Titanic line goes on sale on April 6.


I don’t know what it is exactly about this tragedy that I, and millions of others, find so fascinating.


Was it the opulence of the ship and the Gilded Age passengers that went down with it?

Is it the social injustice of the time that led to a higher percentage of third-class passengers perishing? Or, is it simply the mystery of not completely knowing what happened?

While an accurate picture of that April night can be pieced together using accounts from those on board (the last living survivor of the wreck died in 2009 at age 97), distress calls and trips to the wreckage, the luxury liner sank long before the age of instant recording and online documentation.

Nobody taped the ship going down on their iPhone and posted the video to YouTube, or provided status updates mid-sinking to Facebook and Twitter.

That leaves room for speculation, and the use of imagination, about what it was like to a passenger aboard Titanic.





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