Coral, chemically similar to a pearl, is an organic gem that is the product of small sea animals that existed long ago. Coral often grows as branches inside dark caves or crevices found on the rocky sea bottom.
Coral is one of the most ancient of gems and has been used for decoration since prehistoric times. Coral ornaments have been unearthed in tombs dating from 500 B.C. In ancient China, red coral was a symbol of wealth and status. Chinese emperors often wore red coral accessories like belts and necklaces. In ancient Buddhist scriptures, coral is named one of the seven treasures and was believed to offer protection from evil spirits. In early Rome, it was a tradition to hang branches of coral around the necks of children to protect them from harm.
Today coral is thought to help create harmony, relieve tension and soothe fear.
CORAL: This prized sea stone conjures up images of exotic oceans and faraway places. With shades ranging from soft muted pinks to vibrant bold reds, coral jewelry complements every skin complexion with a warm glow. More about colored gemstones.
Most coral is found in the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan and Taiwan.
Coral is much softer than other gemstones (3.5 on the Mohs scale) and should be treated with care. Coral jewelry should be protected from scratches and sharp blows. Coral is porous so exposure to hot water, chemicals, cosmetics and perfumes should be avoided. To clean your coral jewelry, wipe with a damp cloth and dry. Store your coral rings, earrings, coral necklaces and bracelets in box when not in use.