Coral Jewelry - History & Usage of Coral in Jewelry
The pairing of red coral with blue turquoise is among the most beautiful contrasting gem combinations in the jewelry world, though coral can certainly carry jewelry pieces on its own. Coral is a very common accompaniment gem in turquoise jewelry, and its different hues of red can dramatically highlight the green and blue tones of turquoise. Pacific, sponge, bamboo, and apple coral jewelry pieces show off a stunning range of red, orange and pink stones; which blend well with turquoise to achieve a timeless and fashion-forward color combination. The coral jewelry guide provides valuable information on identifying the various types and features of this precious gem.
History of Coral Jewelry
Civilizations located near shallow water or those with established trade routes have utilized this gem to create their coral jewelry. In ancient times coral jewelry was particularly prized for its believed supernatural benefits, including as a ward against accidents and as a protective amulet against black magic. This gemstone is also a symbol for the Life Force Energy, and is believed to help bring harmony to your heart. Coral is a soft gem, making it easy to shape and work with, attributes that allowed prehistoric peoples to utilize it for personal ornamentation in various forms of jewelry. The use of this gem in early jewelry evolved from mere adornment to charms with talisman properties. Coral jewelry was worn often as a talisman to ward off evil spirits, witchcraft, and the devil. It is also attributed with providing vitality, physical strength, strengthened marital relationships, wealth, increased sensuality, and provided protection while out to sea. Ancient peoples commonly used it for medicinal purposes to treat ailments of the blood and head, and to strengthen the immune system by supporting the lymph nodes.
Coral Found in Nature
Coral grows and is found in salt water depths from 25 to 1000 feet. Increased demand for coral has led to the near depletion of shallow-water occurring coral. Since it's often found in shallow waters, harvesting in deeper water is better for color and quality. The most desired specimens of the Mediterranean Sea and Sea of Japan are among the nearly depleted supplies. It naturally occurs in many colors including: white, black, blue, lavender, pink, and many shades of red. While each color has been used in jewelry, red coral has particularly flourished because of its aestheticism in jewelry and charms. Because the demand outweighs the supply, jewelers have resorted to alternatives; namely dyed sea bamboo and sponge coral.
Types of Coral
Bamboo and sponge coral are more readily available and lessen not only the stress on the dwindling red coral supply, but also the cost of materials. The majority of coral jewelry on the market today is bamboo or sponge coral that provide both the attractive look without the heavy price of red coral. These are beautiful substitutions, but there are some notable differences between them and red coral. Sponge is very porous and known to have brown patches. It can be stabilized to have a smooth surface, but brown swirls can still be visible. Bamboo is generally smoother than sponge, but appears white naturally. It's often dyed to achieve the red color. Poor quality bamboo coral jewelry can lack uniform color, and may appear streaky. Also, black spots can be visible in naturally occurring bamboo coral. The use of bamboo or sponge coral in jewelry is widely accepted, though it is important to know the difference by reading this coral jewelry guide.