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Coral in History

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 Rugose corals.

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 Calcite.

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 sedimentary rocks.

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.

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 period.

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 jewelry.

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 jewelry designs.

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.

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