Coral is an organic gem material much like pearls. It is made out of calcium carbonate with a small amount of carotene. Coral grows into small trees with branches in anywhere from 3 to 300 meters of warm salt water. It can be found in the African coasts, Australia, Japan, the Mediterranean coasts, Malaysia and the West Indies. Today, fragile coral
is harvested by deep sea divers where just the branches are cut off. This coral is not the same as the coral that is environmentally protected. It is of another species.
The most popular color is red
, perfect for coral earrings or a coral ring. If natural, it can be very expensive. Next is angel skin coral when in a uniform color of pink. Coral can be found in the colors of black, brown, gold, blue, violet, orange, pink and white.
Imitation coral is made using glass, plastic, wax, synthetic coral, conch pearl and is perfect for a limited budget.
Early cameos were cut from a variety of stone, shell or coral. It was very popular in Victorian times. At that time, it was believed that coral would ward off evil and danger. For that reason, children were often given christening gifts of coral. Portraits at that time would show children wearing coral jewelry which was added to as the child grew.
Coral is a soft material being a 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Because of this, coral is easy to carve. In Victorian times, you might find bracelets or statues carved in the shapes of flowers, leaves and cherubs. Bracelets were made of green silk and gold cords with five dangling coral beads. Perfect for a summer day.