DORAVILLE, Ga. - Most of the jewelry recovered from the wreckage of the Titanic will go on public display for the first time with a three-city tour.
The jewelry is from a single purser's bag found during a 1987 research and recovery mission. The collection includes diamond and sapphire rings, brooches, necklaces, cuff links and a gold pocket watch.
Although single pieces of the jewelry have been on display at one or more permanent and travelling exhibits sponsored by Premier Exhibitions Inc., their Atlanta debut is the first time the majority of the collection has been available to the public.
The exhibit opens Friday at Premier's display gallery at the Atlantic Station gallery in Atlanta.
In a nondescript industrial office in north Atlanta, officials from Premier Exhibitions Inc. and RMS Titanic Inc. previewed the artifacts before the exhibit opening. Exhibition company Premier is the parent of RMS Titanic, which owns the rights to salvage from the luxury liner's wreck on the bottom of the North Atlantic.
Alexandra Klingelhofer, vice-president of collections for RMS Titanic Inc., said the purpose of the exhibit is to show the public the wonder of exploration.
"Going down two and a half miles below the ocean, recovering a bag, bringing it back up and opening it and finding ... jewelry," Klingelhofer said. "We're able to give them a glimpse of how it must have been to have opened that for the first time and to see, together, the beautiful jewelry of the Edwardian Period."
Conservators and curators have been studying and preserving the jewelry to gain a better understanding of individual passengers' lives aboard the ill-fated voyage.
"Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" opened in Atlanta earlier this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912. Klingelhofer said this jewelry mini-exhibit is being added to provide personal insight.
"We are constantly researching the artifacts, learning more about their story, and we thought jewelry is so beautiful and responds well to people," she said.
After a two-month exhibit in Atlanta, the jewels will travel to Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas.