Branched Organic Gem
Coral is an organic gemstone that originates from a small marine creature called a coral polyp. These polyps live in colonies and shed their exoskeleton as they grow creating extensive branch-like formations. Over time these colonies become quite expansive and calcify as hard calcium carbonate.
This material tends to be semi-translucent to opaque and can be a light pink to a dark red in appearance with the most valuable color being a rare bright red.
A defining characteristic of coral is its fibrous structure that shows as lined growth under magnification.
Coral is found globally with most specimens coming from the Western Mediterranean Sea. Fine quality coral is known to come from Hawaii, Japan, and the Red Sea. Most coral harvested today is processed through the Italian commune Torre del Greco.
Coral’s bright red color has been an attraction for centuries. Ancient Egyptians believed the red coloring of the stone was powerful divine blood that could ward off evil spirits. They would bury their dead with coral to ensure a protected eternal slumber.
Coral has strong Italian roots as noted above and is often fashioned as an Italian horn; a talisman believed to ward off the evil eye.
The gem is also highly valued in China and is associated with perpetuity since rough coral resembles the antlers of a deer, symbolic of a virtuous long life.
Jewelry & Care
Coral is a very sensitive stone that grows naturally as a branched formation that will be cut and polished as beads and cabochon. It is typically bezel set to protect the gem from damage.
Since coral is delicate material it should only be wiped clean with a soft cloth. Be sure to wrap when storing to prevent damage or scratches. Avoid harsh chemicals when wearing this gem or any kind of jewelry.