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Sell With a Story: Precious Coral Gemstones

Coral Gemstones Blog Header

Coral gemstones rise from below to tell earth-forged stones to step aside — it’s time to show what beauties dwell in the deep. With its soft glow and vibrant hues, coral burst from the ocean thousands of years ago and made an impact on our ancestors. This impact was so intense — from the scorching, dusty dunes of pre-dynastic Egypt to the frigid, frozen peaks of Tibet — that the ancients couldn’t get enough of it. Is it any wonder why?

Most coral gemstones are white. It is coral’s pink, pinkish orange to red range that captures much of our attention. Some refer to it as Precious Coral. Why does some coral have this stunning shade of scarlet? Perhaps the answer lies within coral’s origin.

Born from victory

The Greek hero Perseus slew the infamous snake-haired Medusa and set her head on the river’s edge while he washed his hands. Her blood bathed the seaweed in red, and a stone of mythology was born: red coral gemstones.

The real story, though less dramatic, is nonetheless intriguing. Red coral forms from a marine species called rubrum corallium.  Does rubrum remind you of ruby? It means red. These red polyps cling or stick together and ultimately, the skeletons of tiny marine creatures form the coral we use for jewelry.

The diamond of the sea

Just like pearls and amber, Coral is organic, created by the tiny marine critters mentioned above. Polyps attach themselves to the sea floor and then multiply on the skeletons of their predecessors. Left to their own devices, they form structures as breathtaking as the Great Barrier Reef.

These below-the-blue beauties grow as slowly as 1mm per year, and over the millennia, they have created an underwater forest. It’s amazing that our ancestors discovered coral makes for beautiful jewelry.

Working with coral can be tricky to shape. Artists need to integrate the natural bends and size of the coral, but this hasn’t stopped them. Great carvers have achieved masterpieces like this 19th-century carving by an unknown Chinese artist:

Coral Gemstones Chinese Carving
Chinese Coral Carvings • Source

Coral carvings are popular, but coral has also enjoyed popularity in the jewelry world in rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.

A coral strand offers a striking alternative to pearls. Draped around the neck, it adds a warm glow and invigorates the mind. For rings, pair coral with turquoise for the ultimate duality. See this intriguing design below, courtesy of JewelSmith.

Coral Gemstones Turquoise Ring
Coral & Turquoise Snake Ring • Courtesy of JewelSmith

Worldwide love

You can find coral gemstones around the globe — after all, they come from the sea. But the traditional harvest location is Torre del Greco, an Italian fishing village on the Mediterranean Sea. Today, this is where the most valuable coral originates, but it’s not the only location: Hawaii, Japan, and India also produce coral gemstones.

From vintage jewelry, Native American jewelry, Buddha statues, and beyond, this is one stone that’s truly found its calling throughout time, place, and cultures.

Not just for ladies

Coral offers the finishing touch on any dark suit. When set in a large square design, coral sends a powerful statement. It’s also the stone for 35th anniversaries. Spouses, take note. Besides, don’t we all need an excuse to buy more jewelry?

Besides—coral has many other mysterious properties that make it an enchanting force on the wearer. Why not see the magic it can work in your life?

Coral grants its wearer…

  • Protection from the evil eye, scorpions, and snake bites.
  • Safety when crossing rivers.
  • Good health and fertility.
  • Financial prosperity.
  • Happiness, wisdom, and success.

Today, coral populations are declining and many are protected from harvest. Much coral on the market is enhanced (through dyeing or injecting) or imitated. Luckily, Stuller has you covered for your coral needs.

This post was written by Ali Keenze, Marketing Copywriter, in collaboration with Mandy LeBlanc, Stuller’s Gemstone Product Manager


Alyson Keenze

Former Staff Writer