There are different forms and uses for coral, but precious coral is a gemstone quality that is found in rocky seabeds at levels below 500 feet. Although it comes in many shades, the most desired for jewelry is a variety known as Corallium Rubrum that has an intense pink to red color. Now let’s learn more about this popular gem!
General Information about Coral Gemstone
Coral is actually created over a long period of time by marine animals called polyps. They have soft bodies that become harder as the colony gets larger and the older members die leaving only skeletons behind. Even though the colony may grow only one millimeter per year, eventually it will branch out creating interesting skeletal structures of calcium carbonate. Their color, which varies greatly, is determined by the amount of carotenoids each colony contains.
The coral that eventually becomes pieces of jewelry or other forms that hit the market are predominately Corallium Rubrum; it has more intense colors of pinks and reds. Another popular color is the “angel skin coral” that has a salmon-colored to pinkish hue. A third option is Fossil or Agatized Coral which can come in a variety of colors. The reason coral gemstones are so popular is because they aren’t currently regulated. Consequently, they can be imported and exported from most places around the world without penalties.
Between 1 AD and 1000 AD, coral was a primary source of monetary funding in trades. Because it was believed to contain sacred properties, it was especially popular in areas in and around the Mediterranean. Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder explained that the Gauls, between 500 BC and 51 BC, would add the gemstones to their helmets and weapons as a source of protection. It was so popular, in fact, that it was difficult for many countries to even acquire a supply.
When the Gauls were finally defeated by the Romans the popularity of coral was adopted by the new culture. Roman children could be seen wearing beads as sources of protection and the gemstones were believed to have healing properties. In ancient Egypt it was believed that it held divine blood that, when placed in the tombs of those that had passed, would protect them in the afterlife against evil spirits.
Mythology is rife with stories and legends of the creation and importance of coral. For example, it was believed that when Perseus threw Medusa’s head into the sea after cutting it off the blood created the red coral which is found in so much of the Coral gemstone jewelry on the market today. Based on it’s long history and popularity throughout the world, the belief that Coral is protective as well as has healing powers continues today in many cultures.
General Properties of Coral
Varieties: Momo Coral, Corallium Rubrum (aka Precious Coral), Angel Skin Coral, Fossil Coral, Agatized Coral, Corallium Japonicum, Corallium Elatius, Corallium Secundum and Antipathes Grandis, Black Coral and Red Coral.
Color: Orange, red, pink, blue, black, gray and white.
Hardness: 3 – 4.
Crystal Structure: Amorphous.
Transparency: Translucent to opaque.
Luster: When unworked it is dull to waxy but when polished it is vitreous.
Fluorescence: Weak violet under UV light.
Although coral can be found in shallow depths in tropical and subtropical saltwater at 15 – 160 feet, the deeper it is found the more jewelry-worthy it becomes. It is organic in nature and often contains color swirls or zones. Depending on the formation, it can be found in either porous or solid forms. The gem has a tendency to be a softer gemstone that is frequently brittle.
Metaphysical Properties of Coral Gemstone
Coral gemstone is associated with the Base or Root Chakra which connects the body to Earth’s energies. This Chakra is the foundation for the body and serves as the spiritual energy wheel. It’s located at the base of the spine. This gemstone helps you “be there” physically while ensuring you feel “at home” in all situations. You’ll find you feel more grounded, secure, stable and at-peace regardless of what challenges you face. It is also known to be a protective gem.
Coral gemstone is all about survival and supports the brain’s ability to instinctively react to situations. That not only includes fulfilling basic needs but also the ideals of personal safety. As such, it activates your early warning system as well as your fight-or-flight instincts when in dangerous situations. On the other hand, however, it also represents diplomacy and the ability to get along with others. It ensures emotions remain in-check which, in turn, brings a sense of calm and balance. With a quiet mind enthusiasm, imagination, intuition and visualization is enhanced as is the conveyance of knowledge.
Physically, Coral gemstone acts on several levels but what it works on is dependent on the color selected. However, all colors are believed to strengthen the body’s bones and circulatory system while stimulating tissue regeneration after an injury. It is also believed to treat disorders associated with the nervous system, thalamus, spinal column and alimentary canal.
Black Coral is believed to enhance male fertility while Pink and Purple are believed to enhance female fertility. Red Coral has been used to aid in conception and Blue Coral helps release your inner child.
Famous Jewelry Made with Coral Gemstone
Perhaps of the most famous collection of Coral gemstone jewelry was made for Queen Farida of Egypt in 1934. The Red Coral parure collection was made by Ascione and included 2 bracelets, a necklace, 4 earrings and a tiara. It is the only complete collection of its kind known to exist and is currently housed in the Museo del Corallo (Coral Jewelry Museum) in Naples, Italy.
How to Wear Coral Gemstone
To activate a Coral gemstone it should be dipped in a mixture of milk and honey and then place it in a bowl of water for 20-30 minutes. Burn 5 incense sticks then remove the ring from the water and wrap the sticks around the ring and allow it to air dry before putting it on.
The best time to wear Coral jewelry is on Tuesday mornings. The best results occur when worn as a ring in a setting of copper or gold on the ring finger.
For those in dangerous occupations, such as police work or firefighting, coral can serve as a protective stone when worn or kept in the pocket.
Coral gemstone earned its name “The Sea’s Garden” for good reasons. Although it appears to be a plant when viewed, it is actually made up of the skeletal remains of sea creatures so is organic in nature.
Although Red Coral is the most common found in jewelry, it comes in a vast array of colors and once cut and polished is breathtaking to look at. For those that feel the need to connect with Earth’s energy while being protected from evil influences, it is the perfect choice.