What is coral? Coral is an organism in the ocean. It is a marine invertebrate and they live in colonies. They can be classified as hard corals and soft corals. There are about 800 species of hard corals, and these are what make coral reefs. Corals are an essential part of the ocean ecosystem. They function as habitats for some aquatic creatures, and they can also serve as a food source.
In the past, coral was used to make jewelry. In ancient Egypt, Egyptians used coral to make necklaces and use them for trade. Coral was very popular in the Victorian ages. During this time, it was mostly used for decoration. Coral jewelry and items were mostly seen in the areas around the mediterranean.
When making jewelry from coral, certain corals are used. Corallium rubrum is the species of coral used for fine jewelry, and it can be found in the deep waters of the mediterranean. It is classified as a precious coral, which is the type of coral used for jewelry making. These typically are in shades of red and pink. They are also endangered.
In the early 2000’s, companies such as Tiffany & Co. stopped selling coral. Many jewelers were able to see coral becoming scarce and endangered. This is because of how slow coral grows. It takes years for coral to mature, and if it is harvested too soon, it can complicate further growth of the organism. Therefore, many companies have stopped making this type of jewelry and selling it. Some countries have laws against harvesting coral.
Today, coral jewelry is still popular. There are still coral pieces being made and sold. Although, many of these pieces repurpose coral from antique pieces. Antique coral jewelry and vintage pieces can sell for a high price at auctions.