Raise the Titanic Jewelry!
by Jacquelyn Babush
(Decatur, Georgia, USA)
As a one-time marine conservator on the RMS Titanic Preservation Project through a private contractor (2004), I can personally say that I believe that the jewelry currently "in situ" should definitely be salvaged. Unlike the larger pieces I worked on (everything from a huge pair of iron bollards to a Second Class sink and one of the Captain's phones), the articles of jewelry of the RMS Titanic tells a much more personal history of the victims of this famous tragedy. Although I did not work on any jewelry personally, I did get the chance to see some pieces salvaged from the 1994 dredge. A delicate Art Nouveau gold pin, a lacy bracelet and a gentleman's watch chain were among the very few number of pieces that had been recovered at that time.
One of the things that I worked on which touched me the most was a simple silver-plated jewelry tray designed in high Art Nouveau style - not a treasure monetarily, but a poignant and highly personal piece that would have belonged to a lost soul.
I say bring these pieces to the surface for the world to see and appreciate - it will give both Titanic fans and jewelry collectors a chance to get closer to the history and stories of the people aboard the doomed ocean liner.
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