Coral

CORAL

 

Corals are marine invertebrates that typically live in colonies of many identical individuals like polyps. Each polyp is a sac-like animal only a few centimetres long. For protection and support, corals build skeletons made of calcium carbonate and, as the skeleton grows, they live on its outside edge.
In his main poem, Metamorphosis, the roman poet Ovid explains the origins of Mediterranean red corals: when the Greek hero Perseus cut Medusa’s head- one of the three Gorgons (marine monsters)- and placed it on the riverbank, her blood turned the seaweeds into red corals. Medusa was a winged human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair and eyes that would turn anyone into stone at first glance.
Mediterranean and Pacific corals are the most appreciated in the jewellery industry for their beauty and value. Mediterranean coral is characterised by small branches and its red uniform colour. Sciacca coral, fished off the coasts of Sicily, is an exception though, with a colour range from deep orange to pink salmon.

Pacific coral has different colour shades, white spots and veins which often create intense chromatic contrasts. In the Pacific area, there is a huge variety of corals according to their colour: from the “Angel Skin” pink to a dark red; from red-coloured Momo to white coral.
The Corallium Japonicum, first imported in Italy from Japan in 1889, is particularly appreciated for its finesse and market value.

Rubrum coral is found mainly in the Mediterranean Sea and it grows at depths ranging from 50 to 200 meters below the sea level. It is fished mostly off the coasts of Italy, Spain, France, Greece and Maghreb.
It is characterised by a strong calcareous skeleton with shades ranging from dark red to orange red. Anyway, its colour is always very uniform and compact and enhances the perfection of its surface.
Thanks to its solid structure, Rubrum coral is entirely suitable for the manufacturing of smoothed necklaces, cabochons, pendants and precious carvings, whose decorative motifs are suggested by the natural shape of the raw coral branch.
The quality of Rubrum coral jewels and loose stones is mainly determined by its colour scheme and chromatic homogeneity, the absence of spots, the consistency of its structure and the lack of porosity.

Elatius coral is mainly fished off the coasts of the Pacific Ocean, at depths of 200-300 meters below the sea level. It rarely has an uniform colour: raw branches may have red to white chromatic hues. The main feature of Pacific coral, above all the one fished off the coasts of Taiwan, is its white central core, which goes through the whole branch, up to the smallest twigs. It helps craftsmen and jewellers to establish the origin and the authenticity of Pacific coral.
According to its colour, Elatius coral may be divided into:
– Satsuma: fished in the area between Japan and Philippines. It has chromatic hues from the bright red of Momo coral to the pinkish salmon of the Magai variety. Thanks to its morphological structure, Satsuma coral is mostly suitable for carvings, even big ones;>
Boké, also known as Angel Skin. It is fished off the coasts of Japan, it is particularly appreciated for its pale and uniform pink colour. The Boké coral is regarded as one of the most precious corals, above all when it does not have any spots. Given its rarity and commercial value, its use is not very common. It is mainly suitable for the manufacturing of necklaces, cabochons, rings and earrings.</p

Secundum coral, as the Elatius one, is fished off the coasts of the Pacific Ocean, and mainly in Southern Japan and in Hawaii, at depths ranging from 200 to 500 meters below the sea level. The calcareous axis is usually red or pale rose colour and it is marked inside by the typical Pacific coral white vein.
According to its colour, Secundum coral may be divided into two different categories:
Misu: fished off the southern coasts of Japan and Philippines at depths of 200/300 meters below the sea level. It has chromatic hues ranging from white, pinkish white, to pale rose and so it is often mistaken for Angel Skin coral. Thanks to its quality and solid structure, Misu coral is suitable for the manufacturing of smoothed beads, cabochons and pendants;
Midway: coming from the Midway archipelago in Hawaii. It has chromatic hues ranging from white to peach rose, with red-tainted dots. It has typical fan shape heads. Given its colour and solid structure, it is suitable for both smoothed and engraved objects.

Japonicum coral is fished off the coasts of Japan at depths of about 200/300 meters below the sea level. The most appreciated variety in the jewellery industry is Aka coral, also known as Moro or Oxblood coral. It has 25 cm high fan shaped heads, and a variable diameter.
It has an intense, very shining colour, ranging from bright red to very dark red. As a matter of fact, unlike other corals, Japonicum coral seems as translucent as glass, but it is often imperfect and difficult to process. Given the white vein that goes through the coral branch and its structural characteristics, round beads necklaces in Aka coral are pretty rare.
Aka coral cabochons have a huge market value and a unique beauty, especially when flawless and without imperfections.
Japonicum coral is, therefore, one of the rarest and most expensive corals in the world. Its deep red colour and crystal grain make it a very fine and sophisticated product.