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The Coral, The Jewel Of The Seas

by Julie MIALET 03 Nov 2021

In France and around the world, there are many jewels adorned with coral cabochons, most often orange, but also some pink. But where does coral come from?

There are several coral reefs around the world, the largest and most famous being the one east of Australia.

However, not all corals are used in jewelry.

Coral is formed by a calcareous secretion of an animal: the polyp. Each polyp is interconnected with the others, forming colonies. They are animals of about 2mm with 8 tentacles that can retract, like anemones in case of danger.

Coral, Pearls, Onyx, Diamonds, Turquoise Earrings

The two species of coral that are primarily used in jewelry are Corallium Rubrum and Corallium Japonicum.
Rubrum is the most common and sought after, red in color due to the presence of carotene. It is also called "the red gold of the Mediterranean", it is found in the Mediterranean near the Neapolitan coasts. This kind of coral is not at all comparable with corals from warm seas. These porous corals do not allow the work of sculpture unlike rubrum which is very favorable to it and is worked like a hard stone. In reality, the red coral sold commercially is mainly artificial and often comes from China. This artificial red coral is on sale in tourist places such as Thailand or Corsica.

Japonicum, ranging in color from salmon pink to pale pink almost white and called "angel skin" is found in warmer seas, in Japan and Hawaii. The latter is very rare and its pink color is a symbol of romanticism, happiness, tenderness and youth.

We also find in Hawaii black or golden corals, called Keratinous Corals.

Coral Necklace, Diamonds 

Origins dating back to Ancient Greece.

According to mythology, Perseus defeated Medusa and threw her head into a river. The gaze of the Medusa would then have frozen the algae. This is how Ovid explains the ability of coral to harden on contact with air. In Greek, coral is called Gorgeia, Medusa being one of the three Gorgons.
According to some beliefs, coral brings inner peace and calm to the wearer. In ancient China it symbolized wealth and marked a high social status.
In France, coral weddings symbolize 11 years of marriage.

David Webb Brooch, Yellow Gold, Diamonds, Coral, Emerald 

A worrying ecological situation

Today coral reefs are in a situation of ecological crisis all over the world. About 10% of them are dead and more than 60% are in danger because of their overexploitation by humans, especially in South Asia. By 2030, 50% of the reefs will have disappeared.

Van Cleef And Arpels Brooch, Diamonds, Platinum, Coral 


If you are interested in coral, do not hesitate to discover what Julie's stones offer you in store...

We are also available for any free expertise of your coral jewellery, for this you can send an email with your photos to

Whether you're interested in buying a piece of jewellery or a stone, a free jewelry appraisal or jewelry resale, Pierres de Julie welcomes you to its Parisian boutique in the Village Suisse, a stone's throw from the Ecole Militaire and the Esplanade des Invalides.

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