It has always been believed that coral possesses magical and portentous qualities; it is said that it protects from demons, from negative influences and above all from envy.

For this reason in Italy during the fifteenth century, the coral necklace was an indispensable element in the kits of young brides of any social class, as well as the first jewel given to newborns in the form of a pendant to attach to cradles, bracelets or necklaces.

In the eighteenth century in Naples and Torre del Greco the first “industries” of coral craftsmanship were born; wonderful objects that included not only jewels but also statuettes and the famous “little horns” lucky charms.

Genoa was also the home of coral masters until the early twentieth century; they specialized in engraving, creating fantastic cameos, flowers, landscapes, rosaries that, framed in filigree, were requested from all over the world.

Coral colors range from white to pale pink -c.d. angel skin – up to dark red and black.. Dark red is the most precious variety, also called moro.

Red coral is found in our Mediterranean Sea, with light shades in the southern Mediterranean and dark red in Sardinia and a few locations in the northern Mediterranean. One of the places where there is a long tradition in coral fishing and processing is Sciacca, in Sicily.

Coral is a precious stone also because it is now rather difficult to find due to water pollution, which makes the natural process of formation difficult. But not only that: coral fishing is entrusted to a few experienced and qualified fishermen. You have to think that a good coral is found at 90/120 meters deep in the sea. In Sardinia, for example, only naturally fallen coral branches can be collected.

Precisely for this reason,if you own old coral jewelry of any color, keep it dear!
The authentic Mediterranean coral (unfortunately there are many imitations made with glass, or objects obtained with “coral paste”, beautiful yes, but it is not coral) has reached – precisely because of its rarity – incredible prices.

If you have coral necklaces that may have belonged to the grandmother, bring them to re-thread in a trusted jewelry store; if they were short, you can perhaps extend them with silver or gold spheres or rhombuses, small pearls, or other material whose color matches well: a coral necklace, even with small spheres, is always refined and elegant, worn especially in summer on tanned skin.

Same thing for the rings or the earrings; if mounted in silver or gold, and perhaps forgotten at the bottom of a drawer, and become dull and dark, it will be enough to always have them cleaned by the jeweler the first time. If the setting is not to your liking, detach the coral pearl (or oval, or cameo), and put it back on.

Cleaning and Care

Coral, like pearls, is a “living” element and therefore must be treated with delicacy.
It should never be exposed to sources of excessive heat, as it changes color and fades.
You should never spray it on perfumes, as it becomes opaque and stains.
To clean it, if it is very dirty and dull due to old age, as I have already said, it is better to have it cleaned for the first time by the jeweler who will use perfect products but which you must know how to use; a small expense that is however worth the value of the jewel.
The other times, just wipe the jewel with a very soft cotton cloth.
Some, once a year, immerse it in sea water for a few minutes; then they rinse it in fresh water, then dry it perfectly with a soft cloth.

Even things made of coral, like pearls, get scratched on contact with hard stones or metals; necklaces, rings and earrings will therefore be stored alone in padded boxes or packed in small pieces of soft fabric (velvet or chamois leather cloths are fine).

Source: http: ©Mitì Vigliero

Leave a comment