The latest news to come from the 'Titanic'

By Suna Chang
Updated March 13, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

HEART COPY Titanic-ploitation has reached briny new depths: Last month, Ohio-based Lindenwold Fine Jewelry began peddling the Jewel of the Sea, a $19 replica of the blue-diamond necklace worn by Kate Winslet in the film (hers was called the Heart of the Ocean). The mail-order bauble is being marketed through Titanic-themed newspaper ads that go for the jugular of the swooning teen consumer — complete with a Leonardo DiCaprio look-alike (former Virginia mall clerk-turned-model Tim Hays). Still, the manufacturer denies the trinket’s a knockoff. “It’s not supposed to be anything like the one in the movie,” says Lindenwold VP Rodney Napier, who admits his Jewel is “inspired” by Titanic. “The one in the movie is larger and not wearable. This is very wearable.” (Regarding trademark infringement, a spokeswoman for Fox, one of Titanic‘s studios, says simply, “We’re looking into it.”) Napier won’t reveal sales figures but says there have been “thousands” of orders. As for any confusion, he shrugs, “hopefully, it’ll generate more traffic for the movie.” God knows, it needs the help.

DEPTH CHARGE You’ve seen the movie four times, you go to sleep with the soundtrack playing, you’ve bought the life jackets from the J. Peterman catalog. But it’s just not enough. Well, your prayers have been answered: Wildwings, a travel company in Bristol, England, is currently booking passage for its ”Operation Titanic” vacation, which will plunge 24 voyagers 12,460 feet into the Atlantic in one of two Mir submersibles — the same kind used in the movie — to see the remains of the real thing. No previous training will be required, and there will be no health or age restrictions (although claustrophobic vacationers should steer clear). Also on board for the daylong tour will be Dr. Anatoly Sagalevitch, who piloted the Mirs for Titanic director James Cameron. As of now, the group will depart in August on the liner Akademik Keldysh from an as-yet-undesignated spot off the coast of Newfoundland. And every passenger will receive ”photographic evidence” (though probably not a snapshot of you standing in front of the wreckage) of the adventure, plus sauna and full bar privileges after a successful dive. Total cost? Roughly $32,000, excluding airfare and hotel — or considerably more than Jack and Rose shelled out in 1912. But don’t rush to your travel agent yet. Unlike the famed ship’s lifeboats, there’s still plenty of room on the Mirs. Says Nicola Watts of Wildwings, ”At the moment, we haven’t got any actual bookings.”