Coral in History
by Preeti Sharma
The Tabulate corals, arranged in tabular form, occurred in lime stones and calcareous sedimentary rock of the Ordovician (from 500 million to 425 million years ago) and Silurian (From 425 million to 405 million years ago) periods. They often formed low cushions or branch masses along the side of Rugose corals.
Interested in jewelry made of coral? Then we are sure you will be also
interested to know coral in history. How coral was developed in the past?
How coral was used in the earlier days in jewelry and lot more. Come on and
join this exciting exploration of coral in history.
Geological History of Coral
Corals are first thought to be appeared in the Cambrian period. It was about
570 million years ago. Till the Ordovician period (from 500 million to 425
million years ago), corals were considered extremely rare fossils. Ah this
time, Rugose and Tabulate corals were widely popular and became widespread.
The Tabulate corals, arranged in tabular form, occurred in lime stones and
calcareous sedimentary rock of the Ordovician (from 500 million to 425
million years ago) and Silurian (From 425 million to 405 million years ago)
periods. They often formed low cushions or branch masses along the side of
In the middle of Silurian period, the number of these corals started to
decline. Finally, they became no extant at the end of the Permian period
(From 280 million to 230 million years ago). Gradually, the skeletons of
Tabulate corals were compiled up in the form of calcium carbonate, called as
The Rugose corals were dominant in existence by the middle of the Silurian
period. But slowly they also became extinct early in the Triassic period
(from 230 million to 190 million years ago). The Rugose corals were found
either in lone or in colonial settings. They were similar to the Tabulate
corals and their skeletons were also composed of calcite. Most of the all
right details of the skeletal structures are well preserved often. These
fossils can be cut and polished for further use.
Scleractinian corals can be diversified during the Mesozoic (from 230
million to 63 million years ago) and Cenozoic eras (approximately the last
63 million years). They are at the height of development these days. The
fossils can be found in small number in rocks from Triassic period.
Relatively, they were common fossils in rock from Jurassic and Cretaceous
periods as well as Caenozoic era. Scleractinian corals' skeletons that are
composed of a figure of calcium carbonate known as Aragonite. Scleractinian
coral are quite younger geologically as compared to the Tabulate and Rugose
corals. The Scleractinian corals, aragonite skeleton are not preserved well
and are often easy to get fossils of more old Tabulate and Rugose corals.
It is found in studies that in the geological past, the corals were found
abundantly, just like modern-day corals are found in the clear, warm and
tropical waters of some particular part of the world today. The modern
corals have fossil ancestors that make reefs deep under the ancient seas.
There are some coral reefs that lie in the form of great structures amidst
The ancient reefs are not made completely of corals. The algae and sponges
and fossilized remains of echinoids, brachiopods, bivalves, gastropods, and
trilobites that were on the reefs contributed to make them. The fossil coral
reefs are the prime locations to see the different types of fossils, besides
Corals are not limited to reefs only. There are several lonely corals that
can be found in rocks where reefs are not present. The geologists have
actually been able to date the age of the rocks in which they are found. It
is particularly in the case of corals found in limestone of Carboniferous
Coral Jewelry in Different Countries Through The Years
The coral beads and artifacts are discovered in the graves of pre dynastic
Egypt, dating back to as far as 4000 B.C. They are also found in the graves
from Iron Age and Neolithic sepulchers from 10,000 B.C. All through the
world, the museums have the collections of amulets and ornaments made of
coral belonging to the period of 1000 B.C.
The most ancient and traditional center to fashion coral is Torre del Greco,
located near Naples. It was made by the King of Naples in 1870 and Robert
Phillips, the jeweler of Cockspur Street London, got a decoration for
services for the trade of coral. This can tell best about the popularity of
coral jewelry in Victorian England times.
Napoleon had a sundry taste for all Italian things, which acclaimed fashion
for carved coral jewelry. The rose pink type of coral was the most sought
after fashioned with flowers, especially with roses, cherubs, grotesque
masks, chrysanthemums, leaves and fruit. In the early Victorian period,
people wore the carved coral charms attached with formed clasps, tiny gold
rings, decorated cuffs and other stylish jewelries.
During the 1860's, the coral beads and ovoid were arranged in gold brooches.
In the 1870's, people had coral in flowered gold brooches, in combination
with diamonds and emeralds. It was unfortunate that gradually exposed so
much with popularity and overuse, coral was declined in Victorian jewelry.
Particularly in the so called proper circles, coral was considered to be
vulgar. Towards the end of the 19th century, coral was rarely used in
The period of 1920's and 1930's observed resurgence and proved as an
enhancement to the geometric forms prevalent in that period. But once again,
it started to decline until the 1970's.
To talk about the use of coral in some particular countries-In India, coral
had a high value and was often ornamented in the figures of gods. Same was
the traditional use of coral in China, while the in Persia its color was
mostly admired. The Tibetans consider the red coral to be symbolic of one of
the avatars or incarnations of Buddha. The use of coral was highly prevalent
in the 13th century that the famous traveler and historian Marco Polo also
mentioned about it.
In Africa, coral was worshipped in the ancient days. It was considered as
the most invaluable gift that the ruler could bestow on people. Over a long
period in past now, people all over the world have kept on taking delight in
coral. The Renaissance and the Victorian periods assimilated it in the fine
What else we can tell about the importance of coral in history-American
President Lincoln was highly fond of it; Europe witnessed shrewd rivalries
for coral; since medieval to the present times, countries like Europe and
Mediterranean have competed to be in charge of the coral fishing rights on
the African coasts.
After completing a long journey in history, coral is today available in the
designs of earrings, rings, cameo brooches and necklaces and will continue
to rule over the jewelry lover's hearts.