Facts about coral
Found as early as 6000 B.C. archaeological discoveries have found several pieces of coral used in the sixth century, perfectly preserved. These gemstones though delicate, have a long life and don’t change color even after several decades, if kept in good conditions.
Unbelievable beauty underwater – ask anyone who has been lucky enough to go scuba diving near a Coral reef. Corals, take a long time to form. Coral reefs, are built by algae which live inside the coral polyps. These tiny creatures take millions of years to create the coral reefs, building on top of the skeletons of old coral polyps. Corals grow in a tree-like formation under the ocean in shallow waters and can grow up to one foot in height and a maximum of two inches in width. Due to erosion, many caves and crevices are naturally formed into the Reefs. These Reefs have given rise to an underwater cache of marine life. Small sharks, crabs, schools of fishes in gorgeous colors and sizes, sea urchins, eels, water snakes – a veritable treasure trove of marine life.
There are hundreds of Coral species. Many of them, Euphyllia Torch Coral, Mushroom Corals, Star Polyp Corals, Flower Corals to name a few are cultured by hobbyists, who want to grow corals at home in large tanks. These corals are sold over the Internet also. Marine scientists are still discovering new corals, which grow at depths below 800 feet. Corals, which comprise chiefly of Calcium Carbonate, grow in shallow, warm waters, which allow the sunlight through to help in Photosynthesis. But certain types of Corals have been found in cold water also.
Although Corals are found in many parts of the Globe, indiscriminate coral harvesting, pollution, global warming, underwater mining, cutting down of forests have all contributed to the damage to the delicate coral reefs. These reefs maintain an important ecological balance in marine life. Many countries now have regulations against breaking and smuggling of corals outside the country, to help save the Coral reefs.
From pinkish red to deep blood red, corals grow in a variety of colors including Gold.
Red Coral, also called Fire Coral is the one of the five corals normally used to make Jewellery. Harvested from under the ocean, this Coral has found mention in the history of most coastal regions of the Globe- India, Hawaii, Atlantic, Brazil, Italy, to name a few of the countries (over 60) in which Coral is found. Coral is one of the few gemstones that are organic (made by nature) along with Pearls and Amber. Black, White and Blue Corals, which are rare, are also used to make Jewellery. These corals are almost extinct and authentic pieces command a high price in the market.
Found as early as 6000 B.C. archaeological discoveries have found several pieces of coral used in the sixth century, perfectly preserved. These gemstones though delicate, have a long life and don’t change color even after several decades, if kept in good conditions. They measure 3.5 on the mohs scale, meaning these gems have to handled with great care. Coral is brittle, scratched easily and can chip off or even break if handled roughly.
While corals of the normal red variety are easily available and are economical, red corals from the Mediterranean are very highly priced – these corals are a deep attractive red and the Mediterranean coral reefs are almost extinct, making them rare. Good quality Corals have an even coloring and do not have any striations or holes in them. Imitation Corals are aplenty – dyed glass, plastic, shells and even heat-treated coral powder is passed of as authentic coral. Corals are opaque and sometimes, colored wax is filled into holes to give the coral a more dense red color. Genuine Coral Jewellery is expensive – if it is cheap, it is probably an imitation. It is always a good idea to buy coral from a reputed store.
There are many legends surrounding this fiery stone. The Indians have given this red stone a great deal of importance. Its powder and even coral ash has the power to heal and is used in many Ayurvedic medicines. In Indian Astrology, wearing the stone as a ring or a bracelet or even as a necklace is said to ward of the negative influence of the Mangal graha (or the Planet Mars), which leads to weak constitution, high blood pressure etc. It is believed the wearer of the coral stone will be bestowed with physical and mental energy, increased lifespan, marital happiness and youth. Indian Astrologers believe that Yellow rays can regenerate cells of the body. The Coral has a very high number of Yellow rays (which are visible under a Prism) and thus, it can heal maladies of the flesh- rheumatism, genital problems and even mental disorders. Wearing a Mangal (Coral) stone is recommended if your astrological charts show a weak Mangal graha.
Even the Greeks have a legend about corals. It is believed that the stone gets it red color from the blood of the head of the slain, snake haired Medusa – who turned men into stone. The Romans wore it as an amulet around their necks during wars as protection. The Tibetans believe that deep red coral is a healing stone. Carved coral Buddha’s, Jewellery and prayer beads are highly valued and used even today. You may have heard about the Oracles in Greek mythology- the Oracle lived in a dark cave and foretold the future- specially at important events. Kings and Queens sought the decision of the Oracles, who used corals to forecast the future. Discovery of corals on ancient Crucifixes, statues, caskets and many other articles have proved that coral has enchanted man for millions of years.
Before Corals are polished, they appear dull and need to be sorted out for the good, big pieces, which can be made into Jewellery. Inside the ocean, they appear like trees and for many years, it was believed that Corals were actually marine trees, till research proved that Corals actually comprised of tiny living creatures! Coral Jewellery is popular both among the Fashion worshippers and followers of religion.
Corals Combine them with pearls, set a large coral in gold or just wrap a strand of beads around your neck, the touch of coral will make you glow. Whether you want to please the planet Mangal to give you strength and vigour or you want to see the envy in your neighbor’s eye, Coral Jewellery can accomplish both tasks with equal dexterity.