Titanic "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*


Active Member
In this thread I will be posting photos and explaining how I created the blue diamond necklace from "Titanic".
I have been hand fabricating jewelry as a bench jeweler for over 7 years.
From soldering Sterling Silver and Gold to setting gemstones this will be a fun and exciting view from behind the Bench.
A Jewelers view of what it takes to build, cast and finish a piece of fine jewelry.

What is a Lapidary Artist?
What is Investing?
What is quality materials?
What is the best way to avoid Fire Scale?
What does it take to get a fine mirror polish?
Where does one even begin?

Take a journey with me and find out some of the trade secrets to making fine jewelry.
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Re: Making the "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

Cool. :) I'm interested to see how ya' do some of that stuff. :D
Re: Making the "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

I fell in love with Jewelry at a young age. My grandfather used to make jewelry in his home. After his death he left me many tools for making jewelry. After seeing Titanic in theaters i fell in love with the design. Later that year I went on a trip to the Smithsonian in Washington DC to see the Hope Diamond. It was my first up close and personal view of a blue diamond.

How did James Cameron come up with the design? Was it only based off of the Hope Diamond..... or were there other factors in nearby glass cases that inspired this artist to dream up and incredibly detailed piece of jewelry?

I present 3 Pieces for consideration:
The Hope Diamond hopediamond.jpg
The Blue Heart Diamond blueHeart_b.png
The French Blue French_Blue_diamond_replica.jpg
Re: Making the "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

I want to begin showing you my first bombed attempt at making a necklace. I went from retail store to retail store and bought up Sterling Silver earrings and bracelets. I probably spent over 400 in pieces. For the heart stone I purchased a Jill Bailey necklace and sanded it down so it was more comparable to the shape in the movie. I did not have Sterling Silver solder so i used solder i purchased at Home Depot. Bad idea but it still worked. This was an excellent idea because I got a crash course in soldering. I was able to work thru the process even tho I was lacking key elements for jewelry making.
(Pickling & Borax to be exact)
hearts.JPG heartoftheoceanpage9 - Copy.jpg2heartsforpage123445.jpg
Not to shabby for my first attempt. The stone was practically BLACK so I wanted to give it another try.
This necklace became parts for other pieces I would make as i practiced making jewelry.
(I would like to add that building random pieces is a fantastic way to learn and get into the groove of jewelry making)

Here are a few of the pieces that I made for practice.
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Re: Making the "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

Now on to the good stuff. This is what this thread is all about. I was able to build this necklace back in 2007 with parts from online and at a local jewelry wholesaler. I will share detailed descriptions so you can google your way to finding majority of the items you will need.


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Re: Making the "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

I will start with the blue stone because this is the most important part of the entire necklace. I am a firm believer that without the proper stone you mine as well call it quits and find something on an online auction site. You will need an approx 40mm blue stone. I purchased my first blue stone form a set of 12 of off amazon. Do a search for 40mm Heart Crystal Paperweights. Now the shape of the stone is way way to round and the facets are all wrong.

(Beware this next part is difficult and takes time and patience)

If you wish to spend a little extra track down a local Lapidary artist and have your stone hand cut! (approx $400.00 +)

Or you can continue and I will explain how to facet and polish your own stone like a true armature with a hand drill and some auto glass repair kits.

Things you will need:

Wet dry sandpaper in many grades (for polishing)
Generic sand paper at lower grades (for initial shaping)
Duck Tape
Power Drill
Auto glass repair kit
sapphire gemstone polish.

The idea is that you will strap a power drill and press the stone against a flat area that can slowly grind away at the stone. Your facets may not be perfect but you can get close to the shape you are seeking. Keep the stone wet and go slowly or you will cause the stone to get hot and it will shatter.
You have to use every single grade of wet dry sand paper to the finest grade to get a crystal clear polish!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(please note the stones in this set of 12 are LEAD CRYSTAL. Use a mask and keep your hands clean after polishing. Lead is not safe but i survived the process and I am sure you will also) *this disclaimer is for health reasons if you wish to use these 12 stones*

There is also the option of casting a clear resin mold with blue pigment if you wish.

(the options in this thread about using lead crystal are based off of my initial prototype. use at your own disgression or seek another option)

View attachment 271766View attachment 271767View attachment 271768
These Images are of a professionally cut Lapidary grade Lab Blue Quartz. (The darker the stone the less visible bubbles are the lighter shade the more bubbles and inclusions become apparent.)
Re: Making the "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

Now onto the METAL! Using plated pieces is a poor idea and will only make your finished product look like crap! Sterling Silver is a small investment and will
look better in the long run. If you wish you can buy kits and plate your piece. Stick with Silver or gold and make it worth your time. If you are taking the time to build this necklace put a little $$$ in to it and make it special.

I am going to continue this thread with making the chain. You have several options. The easiest for myself was taking the road traveled by the inexperienced.

Bezel setting is difficult and time consuming. Having the correct tools to setting a bezel is KEY!

I found one option that worked to my advantage. Back Set Bezel!

These bezels can be found on numerous sites. The stone is set from behind in an already bezel shaped casting.
These bezels are in earring and pendant form. Altering them to become a chain takes a little time but works.
How you link them will depend on the strength of the necklace.

For this necklace (2nd prototype) I used a thicker gauge silver jump rings. Knowing I would not be able to get the links super close together and have them soldered shut was a choice that I took. The outcome was still good but no longer up to my standards of fine jewelry.

The only other option is having a jewelry store print a cad of each of the 4 shapes needed and build a wax tree and cast them.
(This option will cost you big bucks but it will give you a superb outcome)

Here are a few examples of Back Set Bezels....earrings.jpegmarquise.jpgpear.jpeg
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Re: Making the "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

Now for the pendant. How you wish to build it is up to your own ideas. If your looking for perfection you best practice.
(2nd Prototypes main setting was hand built with approx 50....6prong heads.)
Soldering each individual setting to the base of my setting was a process that took a few days.
It was enjoyable because I learned so much.

A few tips for soldering:
1. Borax is great! dip each piece you use in borax to prevent Fire Scale.
2. After each solder dip in a pickle (Dry Glandular Acid) this can be purchased online or at any local jewelry wholesaler.
Put your pickle in a tiny crock pot. The hotter the faster is cleans and you can get back to work......BUT
(the acid will rise in the air when you open it so keep it outside and away from your work area. I learned this lesson the hard way)
---The acid vapor fell on my chair and when i sat down i began to itch. I had red welts on my legs and could not figure out why i was breaking out---
JUST FYI you can use it cold but it will take 20min or more before you can solder again.

When you finish the pickle process rinse off your piece in water and use a tooth brush with wet backing soda slurry and rinse off again.
(the acid will clean and leave a white layer over the metal. remove this white residue before you solder)

FIRE SCALE is a biatch! but if you use Borax you will encounter it less.

For small parts when soldering.....place on a soldering block and fire from below the piece. I used 2 small torches with many cans of butane fuel.
If you get the proper tools you can avoid this process of trial and error.

Small pieces are referred to as FINDINGS! They are thin and delicate. Applying direct heat will cause your findings to melt in a matter of moments.

Solder flows towards the heat source so if you point the flame in the area you want the solder will fallow.

FLUX is your bonding agent. It allows 2 piece of metal to join. There are several options for flux.

1. Flux in its creamy form. Use a paint brush with a little water and spread it over the area you wish to bond.
(Covering the entire piece in flux is a waste even tho it will prevent fire scale. Coating your piece in Borax first is KEY!)

2. Flux Syringe. (This has your metal of choice built in. Tho it is difficult to get out of the tube it can do wonders for tiny pieces and small solder jobs)
I plug mine with a little pin used for sewing. It penetrates deep into the needle of the syringe and will give you a better seal for preventing the solder from drying out. PLUG IT after every use. This stuff drys FAST! NO JOKE!


Wire solder is best. have a place to cut it up into. Solder pelets need to be hand cut but are great because you place them where you want them and watch them melt.

There are 3 kinds of solder. each kind will determine strength of your piece

Easy - Great for practice and melts at low heat.
Med - My solder of choice. it is sturdy and yet melts at a lower temp.
Hard - Strong for areas that move and may bend, requires a higher temp to heat.

(for more info please google to learn more about each grade of solder)

Other Metals:

Silver Wire:
Half Round

Silver Sheet:
Silver sheet comes in many gauges. From thick to thin. You pay per inch so ensure you know how much you need and buy a little extra just in case.
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Re: Making the "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

Making jewelry can be fun but take CAUTION! Hot metal hurts. And if you over heat a piece it can blast apart and fly at you!
Wear goggles and any other things you feel you may need. Dressing the part of a jeweler pays off and will protect your clothes.

I personally love building jewelry because bonding metals is fun and entertaining.

Go ahead and buy a crap load of tools and set up a work bench. Buy some used jewelry and practice. Start with costume jewelry from the thrift store and give it a shot. Then move forward with Sterling Silver. Unless you are working with diamonds please remove the gemstones or crystals if you wish to keep them in one piece. They will shatter or explode!

Whats next for this thread>>???????????????

Time to tackle hand fabrication and casting your work so it can be made on a larger scale. Duplicate your work!!!!
Re: Making the "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

Creating a hand fabricated model to be cast into a MOLD!

Please remember first and foremost if you wish to have a mold made by a professional your piece needs to be 2mm or thicker to cast.
You can always go in and sand it down afterwards. It is more time spent, but it will save you from having more molds made!

Molds cost money. For large molds your looking at approx $60.00+
This is Similar to investing because your mold can be used over and over.
Hot wax is injected into the mold and then removed. Unless you have the proper equipment you will need to help of a local caster.
You can send your pieces away to be cast but being able to talk in person with your caster is recommended. If he encounters a problem talking to him in person can be useful.

Building your Prototype:


Copper has a similar melting point as Sterling Silver so it is affordable to get and can be useful. Here are some photos of my first Copper Prototype.
IMG_0440.JPGIMG_0465.JPGIMG_0453.JPGView attachment 271778View attachment 271779View attachment 271780View attachment 271781View attachment 271782IMG_0482.JPGsideview.JPGFrontal view.JPGme.JPG

(For the bezel links I used Sterling Silver)
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Re: Making the "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*


Be prepared to dish out $$$ even for a prototype to be made with a 3D cad by a professional you are looking at some big BUCKS$$$.

Here is a 3D Cad Example......It took about 6 changes before we got to the final result. We started with a basic concept

The outcome on the other hand is an investment. Being able to make multiple copies of your work can prove worthy.

The largest of payment to a caster goes towards the time he or she spends making your wax castings and building trees. Attaching sprues so the metal flows into your piece. Building a tree is used for small pieces like links, pendant, earrings in large batches.

Finally more money is spend investing in your metal of choice, Sterling Silver and White or Yellow gold is the metal of choice.

For those of you wishing to cast in pot metal or brass be prepared to be let down. Most places do not plate these large pieces.
Plating liquids are expensive. A single bottle of White Gold costs a jewelry store around $200.00 and that does not include the device with the electric charge to plate the items.

Plating in Pot metal requires an additional plating of a Nickel Alloy. Without this first plate no precious metals will electroplate on to the piece.

When your pieces are finally cast you should have something like this..............

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Re: Making the "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

Prototypes, Finding Investors & Copyright.

Once you have a prototype the best advice I can give any artist is to KEEP IT! Selling your prototype is the worst possible position you can put yourself in.
What is so special about a prototype? Your prototype contains every small detail and measurement. It is a go to piece in case you forget something. Your detailed rendering or blueprint has all the info?.....Trust me there is nothing better than having an actual item to go to. Nothing can compare to having a prototype on hand!

Investors are a great way to move along production. Using social media sites is an superb way to back up your art and get production moving.
Finding like minded fans can help you achieve your goals and get your product out to eager buyers.
Sites like Facebook and Instagram can be great ways to outsource your ideas and products.

Copyright laws can be a hassle. Knowing the law and what you can and can not sell can be tricky. I appreciate the law and how it can protect me but selling something that was never officially released with a twist on design can be considered a modification.
In my case Jewelry is copyrightable. Changing a design 10-15% can sometimes be a loophole.

Large movie corporations have a team of lawyers and personnel that focus there efforts on shutting down people like us.
First and foremost the corporation is less concerned about how exact the piece is...Honestly they focus on misrepresentation of the product and its possible connection to the corporation.
By not claiming the product is not affiliated with the corporation can be termed as a conflict of interest and breach of copyright.
In most cases a Disclaimer is helpful but it will not always save your butt.

If you are contacted by a corporation and you are emailed or sent a Cease and Desist put your item on the back burner. Further selling of that piece can result in further action by the corporation or attorneys that represent the corporation.

There are other roads you can take to sell your items. Search out collectors who specify in the collectible you are trying to sell. Using search engines like Google to search out photos of collections can be a great way to get your pieces in the hands of like minded collectors.
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Re: Titanic's "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

Adding Value to your Custom Jewelry

Costume jewelry vs Fine Jewelry

Costume jewelry has little value. Why is fashion/Costume Jewelry Still so expensive?
Answer: In a retail setting making the piece of jewelry depends on its components and details.
The jewelry sold is usually x 2 or x 3....This is a usual up price for any retailer.
The idea of costume jewelry was intended as something easily replaceable. It was intended to last a while and then fall apart. With an affordable price tag it can easily be replaced.

What will make my Jewelry worth a profit in the future?
Having your piece cast in Sterling Silver, Gold or a member of the Palladium Family is really your only option.
While Gold is pricy and will be worth more Sterling Silver is a great option.

Sterling Silver is affordable and will always have a numerical value. It is easily manipulated and bendable and widely used for making fine jewelry.

When considering stones real genuine from the earth gemstones is superb, but finding them in large sizes with great quality will be difficult and pricy.

On the other hand finding lab created gemstones is widely acceptable.
Lab Quarts can be located easily by a Lapidary artist and can be cut and faceted into any desirable shape.

CZ / Cubic Zircon
Many of these stones are affordable but keep in mind quality is going to show in your final product.
A cut, AA cut, and AAA cut are what options you will find when doing a search.
Triple (AAA) Cut is the best on the market for these stones.

When working with a bezel a lower $ cut stone will loose its sparkle. In a prong setting it will continue to sparkle due to the fact the girdle of the stone is not being covered.

Do your research and be prepared to dish out a pretty penny for quality.
(Ensure you order extra stones because a few may be frosted or cloudy or have inclusions. Inspect your product before you set your stones!)

In conclusion Fine Jewelry and precious metals will always have a higher value.

Nothing Great comes without a price. What will you put into your final product?
Re: Titanic's "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

Hey Michael.

You probably know it already but I really have to greet you: -Yours is the best replica that is out there-. I can tell you made a very neat study of the movie's necklace. Official replicas are pathetic.

I've always been a huge fan of the movie and the necklace of course. I’ve liked jewelry and stones since I was very little. A couple of years ago I made a very neat study of my own too. I gathered a big archive of screenshots so I could understand the size, shape and facet design of the blue stone; the number of surrounding stones in halo; the patron, shapes and number of stones in the chain; the setting and mounting, etc. I bought a +200 grams, medium sapphire blue, cubic zirconia (at 180USD or so) but never had it cut since I couldn’t find a good lapidary artist. The best cutter I found made a couple of crystal attempts but didn’t fully please me. I also got the whole set of halo and chain cz stones but kinda left my project to gather dust.

You made an excellent work man. It definitely inspired me to get back to work out a way to get the necklace done. Maybe I’ll find a jewelry course. If you like I can send you some pictures of my drawings. I’d be happy to read your comments on them.
Re: Titanic's "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

I would be more than happy to give you some insight. if you need assistance with gathering jewelry tools. I can send you to some great online wholesalers where you can get everything you may need. I also have a stone cutter here in Arizona who did my first 3 stones. I am sure he would cut your stone for you. He is an award winning lapidary artist who delivers excellent results. He is pricy tho.

It is nice to meet a fellow fan of the HOTO. I would be more then happy to assist you in completing your piece.


PS you do not need to take a jewelry course. gather the supplies and i can give you step by step instructions. A baby could make jewelry if the flame didn't scare him.
Re: Titanic's "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

Feel free to post links to online stores and whatnot.

The RPF only has an issues with linking to live auctions.

Share the knowledge! This is cool stuff that doesn't get talked about much here.
Re: Titanic's "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

Well for starters I prefer to find local jewelry wholesale stores. In AZ I am partial to www.Lonniesinc.com
It's always best to find a local shop, so you can browse for the things you need. The site is pretty basic and has allot of the items
you need so you can buy them online.
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Re: Titanic's "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

Here is a video on YouTube showing quite a bit of what I have learned detailing the necklace.

The Truth Behind The Diamond. The Heart of the Ocean Necklace. Titanic - YouTube

For the past 7 years I have attempted to take hold of this prop and re create it into what I feel personally is the best possible representation.

I have been scammed lost everything in the process. Then thru nothing short of a miracle, found ways of starting over. The process lead me to long time friends, now adopted family who have taken my pride in this necklace to its final level. Bringing it into reality, a tangible finished product!

That is what my work embodies. A hand made finished product.

Because in all reality. Wouldn't the first necklace to be made, have to have been made from scratch?

Not to mention a famous actress owns one of my necklaces, thanks to the TV Show " My Crazy Obsession" on TLC
It also got a quick segment on ABC 7 News!

Video below


Picture 038.jpgnecklacetv.JPG
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Re: Titanic's "Heart of the Ocean" Necklace...*Hand Fabrication of Fine Jewelry*

Hey Michael! Thanks for replying. Well, unfortunately, I'm so busy right now handling two jobs that I can only imagine how easy and cool it is to handcraft your own jewelry. I would just love to make this necklace by myself since I'm so eager to have it done perfectly. Maybe some other time I will ask you for your advice on the jewelry tools and step by step instructions. For now I'm happy to know I'm not the only archifan of this piece.

Here's a pic of my unfinished work. The design that I used to make the crystal tests was the one on the right. But I think on both designs the table is still too small. The crystal stone on the left is the first test and the one on the right is the second and last one. I actually dropped it by accident so I had to repair it. The dark blue block there is the rough CZ that I got. Its georgeous although rough and uncut and heavy as hell. THOTO.JPG

Oh, and Michael, I'm so curious... The first three pictures of your post... first one, pretty obvious, but the next two... the necklace on the second one, is that your replica? Cuz I have no doubt the one on the third is the original prop from the movie. Its like seeing a picture of my child. Where did you get it? I never saw it before and I can't stop staring... its absolutely beautiful. It's the second one that Im doubtful about.

Please let me know.

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