Coral is an organic gem. It is the skeletal material of calcium carbonate built up by tiny sea creatures living in the depths of warm seas in huge colonies. It grows in branches that look like underwater trees and when it’s polished has a beautiful glossy shine. Coral comes in a variety of colours including red, pink, orange, blue, white and black (black being protected as it is endangered). Most Coral today is dyed which is an accepted gemstone practice. Many people think that Coral is endangered and should be protected, however the collection of it is monitored by international law and modern harvesting practices ensure that it is sustainable and replenishes itself at a rate equal to, or greater than that at which it is collected.
Most Coral used in jewellery is found in the Mediterranean Sea or in the Pacific Ocean off Japan and Taiwan.
Care: Coral is much softer than other gem materials and should be stored carefully to avoid scratches. Cosmetics (including perfume), hot water and bright sunlight can damage it.
Traditional legends, gemstone folklore and healing properties of Coral
Coral is said to be one of the oldest forms of gemstone used in jewellery and decorative art. Coral jewellery has been found in ancient Egyptian and prehistoric European burial tombs, as it was thought to give protection against evil spirits. The Ancient Egyptians believed that each piece contained a drop of divine blood. According to Greek mythology, when Perseus chopped off the head of the Gorgon Medusa, he washed his hands in the river and kept her head on the bank, he then noticed that her blood had turned the reeds into red Coral. In ancient China, red Coral was a symbol of wealth and high social status.
Coral is one of the seven treasures in Buddhist scriptures and they also believe it protects from evil spirits. Tibetan lamas use it in rosaries, and the American Indians regard it as a symbol of vitality.
Coral is said to symbolize joy and happiness, it enables the wearer to enjoy life, gain inner peace, intuition and imagination. Many cultures believe that it protects children. Healers believe that Coral can be used in difficulties of the lungs and digestion, and it relates to the circulation of the blood and to the heart, and works against nutritional deficiencies, depression and lethargy. It is also said to help restore harmony to emotional conflicts, and mystics claim that it cures madness.
Coral is the anniversary gemstone for the 35th year of marriage.