Straight from the ocean, coral does not look all that appeasing. Once it has been cleaned well enough and polished, it is a thing of beauty, and a costly one at that. Deeper water produces better quality coral. Unfortunately though, coral is very sensitive to water temperature and will only thrive between 13°C-16°C.
Coral is found in Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, Cape de Verde Islands, Bay of Biscay – Madeira and even in South Ireland.
Coral jewelry is famous in Italy, with the country being possibly the main centre for the creation of coral jewelry. Coral is used to adorn various things from umbrella handles to beads for necklaces, bracelets, brooches, pendants and the list goes on. China and India imports a lot of coral, as it is widely used for various religious rituals.
Coral comes in a variety of colors:
Red Coral – this is very expensive and thus the most valuable type of coral. Found in the waters of Provence, Catalonia, Corsica and Sardinia and even in the Mediterranean.
Noble/Precious Coral – this type of coral is also referred to as Corralium Nobile or Rubrum. Found mostly in Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, Sicily and Sardinia.
Black Coral – this type of coral is perfect for carving and can even be moulded as it bends when warmed. The coral is black in colour as this is the first stage of the decaying process. No longer widely available in the Persian Gulf, black coral can be found in the Mediterranean.
Blue Coral – this also, like the black coral is in its initial stages of decaying. It is also known as Akori.
Golden Coral – this coral has a texture which is resinous. It was initially found by divers off Maui, Hawaii.