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The Coral, The Jewel Of The Seas

In France and around the world, loads of jewelry adorned with coral cabochons, mostly orange, but also some pink, can be found. But where does the coral come from?

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There are several coral reefs worldwide, the largest and most famous being the Australian one.

Nevertheless, not all corals are used for jewelery.

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

Coral, Pearls, Onyx, Diamonds, Turquoise Earrings

The two species of coral mainly used in jewelry are the Corallium Rubrum and the Corallium Japonicum.
The rubrum is the most common and the most sought after. Its red color is due to the presence of carotene. It is found in the Mediterranean sea near the Neapolitan coasts.
The Japonicum, from white to pale pink colors and also called “angel skin”, is found in warmer seas, mostly in Japan and Hawaii.
Hawaii also has black or golden corals, called Keratin Corals.

Coral and Diamonds Necklace

Origins that go back to Ancient Greece.

According to the mythology, Perseus would have defeated Medusa and thrown her head into a river. The look of the Medusa would have frozen the algae. Thus, Ovide explains the coral’s ability to harden on contact with the air. In Greek, the coral is called Gorgeia, Medusa being one of the three Gorgonians.
According to some beliefs, the coral brings inner peace and calm to its wearer. In ancient China, it symbolized wealth and marked a high social status.
In France, the coral symbolizes 11 years of marriage.

Yellow Gold, Diamonds, Coral, Emerald David Webb Brooch

A worrying ecological situation

Today, coral reefs are in 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.

Diamonds, Platinum, Coral Van Cleef And Arpels Brooch