Coral is a natural organic substance that has been considered a precious gem since prehistoric times. It has been valued in jewelry making for thousands of years. It has long been popular in a multitude of cultures, many believing it has special powers.
has a timeless appeal, and is more popular than ever today. The demand continues to grow despite new trade and harvesting regulations around the world. Much of our coral is from stockpiled, unused beads, that have been in the U.S. for many years. Coral is an organic gemstone and unfortunately many coral reefs are endangered. They are threatened by warming ocean waters, harmful
bacteria, pollution, and destructive fishing methods. Commercial harvesting and
trade of coral has been regulated for decades by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), an international treaty signed by close to 200 countries. In the United States, permits are required to import some species of coral, and other may not be brought into the country for commercial sale at all.
The prices are being driven up as supplies dwindle and the availability of new coral is becoming scarce. We have some pieces that are nearly impossible to find elsewhere. Lots of our customers
say they didn't even know there were so many different types and colors of corals. Did you know it occurs naturally in lavender, black, blue, white, and of course every spectrum of red. Many people have never seen real Apple or Tiger coral.
The premier coral on the market is still "oxblood" red coral which is from the species Corallium. Most of it harvested in the deep waters of the Mediterranean and identified throughout history with Italian workmanship.
It is also found in the Gulf of Naples near Genoa and off Algiers, and Tunis on the African side. It is also brought up from the
waters of Sardinia, Corsica, Catalonia and Provence, as well as along
parts of the French and the Spanish seaboard. There has been a coral trade between Naples, Italy, and Marseille, France, for thousands of years.
Another important source of coral has been the Sea of Japan, which produces other hues of red and pink coral. Several varieties of lace and needle corals even come in shades of purple and lavenders. Some have brown or whitish tips and can be found in oceans worldwide. The larger skeletons are often carved into beads.
Black coral is thought to be in the first stage of decay and is found just below the surface. It often has thin gold rings or markings on a very shiny surface. However, Hawaiian black coral is found at depths exceeding 200 feet. It used to be abundant in the Persian Gulf area and other oceans, but much of that has been exhausted; a new find has been made near Japan.
Blue Ridge Coral,( Heliopora Coerulea) and Blue Denim Coral grow in the Indo-pacific region and are now difficult to find. These very popular corals have a soft denim color. They are a porous variety and are often lacquered. Blue coral is also thought to be coral in a stage of decay as the color is often only on the tips or surface. There is now a blue variety of sponge coral in the market place that is very pretty, it is denser with less visible pores. Golden coral is found off Hawaii and has a plastic or resinous look with visible pores.
Sea Bamboo or Bamboo coral is dyed to imitate the fine colors found in natural coral, and is often sold in the market today as red coral. This is fine ~ dyed corals are beautiful too ~ just know what you are purchasing. You don't want to pay natural coral prices for Sea Bamboo that has been dyed.
Coral care - Coral is a very soft gemstone, so it needs to be treated gently. Clean coral jewelry by wiping it gently with a moist soft cloth. Because it is naturally porous, coral can be damaged by exposure to chemicals such as perfumes and hair sprays. When not being worn, coral should be stored carefully to avoid scratches.
Coral jewelry is like an investment now, the price will only go up as the supply of it goes down.
Now come in and browse our coral collection.
Two ways to test for dyes: Gently rinse coral in warm tap water and lay on a paper towel for a few minutes. If you notice any color on the towel, its probably dyed. You can also test a small spot near the hole of the bead. Carefully wipe the area with a cotton swab that has finger nail polish remover on it to see if any dye comes off.