Most of the jewelry recovered from the wreckage of the Titanic will begin a three-city tour, its first public display since being salvaged from the ocean depths.
In a nondescript industrial office, Premier Exhibitions Inc. and RMS Titanic Inc. officials previewed the artifacts before they go on display Friday in Atlanta.
Alexandra Klingelhofer, vice-president of collections for RMS Titanic Inc., said the purpose of the exhibit is to enlighten the public of 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," Kingelhofer 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."
The jewelry recovered 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.
Conservators and curators have been studying and preserving the jewelry to gain a better understanding of individual passengers' lives aboard the ill-fated voyage.
Although single pieces of 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.
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 noted that 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 at the Atlantic Station gallery in Atlanta, the jewels travel to Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas.