Jewellery made from Coral is always attractive and interesting to see. It evokes within us the image of a charming seaside town at dusk, its streets and squares teeming with curious tourists. Cute souvenir shops line the avenues, and jewellers’ shop windows are adorned with jewellery of Coral, whose beauty calls to us and awakens in us the desire to possess it. It is believed that jewellery made from red coral is primarily jewellery for beaches, summer pleasures and human joy.
And what exactly is Coral? It is formed by very tiny marine organisms called polyps (belonging to the shell family), residents of warm and clean seas and oceans. (Remember this word ‘clean’ as your coral jewellery rises in value — we are desecrating our seas and oceans, endangering many species, Coral included.) Most often we find coral on the shores of the Mediterranean, the Atlantic Ocean (Bay of Biscay and the Canary Islands), the Red Sea (famous coral reefs near the resort of Sharma El Sheikh), the Malay Sea and the Sea of Japan. The largest coral reefs are located in northern Australia, as well as on the shores of the Hawaiian Islands. Also famous are the colonies of coral in the Adriatic Sea near the town of Sibenik.
Coral captivates with the diversity of its colours. Red is undoubtedly the queen of coral colours, and we can find it in different shades. The most popular is a deep red coral called Coralium Rubrum. Interesting are also burgundy colours — Rosso Acura, and bright red — Vivo. It is believed that red is a colour of life, beauty, openness and passion — a sort of symbol for youth and happiness. All this is contained within Coral! But one should not ignore the importance and beauty of white, bluish and black Coral. Those colours come from a presence of a mineral called Hornblende, which has a dark colour and resides in the very composition of the coral. The natural appearance of coral is matte, but after polishing it may take on an attractive sheen.
Since ancient times, coral has been used to decorate various objects and in jewellery making. It is very easy to shape, so all kinds of jewellery can be made, such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches, pendants and other items. The so-called "Parure" - Coral sets are also attractive, and are comprised of a necklace, earrings, brooch and bracelet.
The oldest known pink coral jewellery was found in burial grounds in Europe and dates back to the Palaeolithic period. Coral jewellery was very popular in the Bronze Age too. In the Pannonian province of the Roman Empire, Coral was also used for jewellery making.
In addition to jewellery, there are art objects made from Coral or combined with a variety of precious metals. The skilled hands of artists and craftsmen can create an entire composition and diverse landscapes with colourful coral. An example of an artistic work in coral is two female Chinese figurines performing with fans, originating from the nineteenth century, from the workshop of Prince Chun in Beijing, which are now in the Gensburger Collection in Paris. The Sumerians decorated vases with red corals for five thousand years.
Italy is famous for its processing and application of coral in jewellery, and for different handcrafting with Coral. Its famous centre, Torres del Greco, is located south of Naples. The countries with largest production of coral in the world are Australia, Japan and USA, mostly from the Hawaiian Islands.
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