A locket salvaged from the wreckage of the Titanic has a back-story that’s just as heart-breaking as the on-screen romance that played out between Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack and Kate Winslet’s Rose in the 1997 film.
The locket in question was made from 18-carat gold, and bears the engraving ‘VC,’ standing for Virginia Estelle McDowell Clark. First discovered back in 1994, it has now been added to an exhibit in Las Vegas to mark the 105th anniversary of the ship’s tragedy.
In a reversal of the film’s plot – which famously sees Rose drop the ‘Heart of the Ocean’ necklace into the water after holding onto it for years - the real-life keepsake was lost to the ocean as the ship went down, then unearthed during a trip to the Titanic wreckage many decades later.
Virginia was a first class passenger on the ill-fated ship’s maiden voyage in 1912, travelling with her husband Walter Miller Clark as they returned to America from their belated honeymoon, a trip around Europe.
Leonardo diCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic
On the fateful night that the ship went down, Virginia felt the impact from her cabin, and rushed to find her husband who was playing cards in the smoking room. The couple were separated (like Jack and Rose, though without the class barrier which the film creates) as the ship’s officials told men to stay behind and save space in the limited life boats for women and children, but not before Walter had ensured Virginia's safety. Sob.
‘When they got up to the boat deck, they were still separating men from women and children and he placed her in one of the lifeboats,’ Alexandra Klingelhofer, curator for Premier Exhibitions, revealed to Today.
‘The boat was supposed to pick up additional passengers as it got lowered down each level but logistics prevented that from happening. So the boat ended up on the ocean surface with many other seats available .’
‘Had they known earlier, Walter could have got on to the boat with her, but he did not. He stayed with the other first class men and bravely went down with the ship.’
We’re not crying, you’re crying. Cue Celine Dion...