Coral jewelry art
Coral jewelry art
Natural material, coral polyps (“bioherm”), in large concentrations become reefs and coral islands. Traditionally, people use ordinary corals as raw materials to produce lime. And some rare species, as a precious raw material used for the manufacture of jewelry. Among the variety of marine resources in nature, there are real deep water treasures – pink, black, “gold”, blue and bamboo coral. In particular, the Mediterranean Sea and off the coast of Japan are rich in red or precious corals – gorgonians. From their calcareous skeleton of red and pink, purified from polyps, even in ancient times, at least 25 thousand years ago, produced expensive necklaces, bracelets, brooches, cameos, and other products.
In fact, coral is one of the most ancient jewelry materials. Archaeologists found beads of pink coral of Mediterranean origin, among the remains of Paleolithic man in a cave Vildsheyer (Germany), which age – 35-10 thousand years BC. Meanwhile, the literature describes the Sumerian five-thousand-year-old vase of decorated corals.
Traditionally, the ancient Greeks considered pink coral a symbol of immortality, and it could protect the wearer from the “evil eye”, poisoning, cure for gout and other diseases. In ancient times, coral jewelry finally entered the vocabulary. According to ancient Greek legend, when Perseus was flying over the sea with the head of Medusa the Gorgon, in those places where the drops of blood fell into the water, appeared red corals, called gorgonian.
Meanwhile, in fashion coral jewelry exists more than two thousand years. In the jewelry art of medieval Russia coral had the widest application as inlaid material. And in the era of European Renaissance developed glyptic tradition of carving on corals. However, in our time this kind of art is disappearing, at least in Europe.
Traditionally, the Chinese highly prized pink coral.
Noteworthy is the famous Kurkatsk tombs on the banks of the river Shirinsu in Tajikistan. There, 1.5 thousand years ago was the legendary city Kiropol, where archaeologists discovered coral treasures. In particular, along with gold bracteats (thin gold plates with the image of a human face), they found jewelry from Badakhshan rubies, coral beads and raw coral branches.
In fact, these gemstones sea – composed of calcite (88%) doped with magnesium compounds and organic iron compounds. Black coral from the gorgonian kind has black or brown skeleton of gorgonina – hornlike substance. Its colony has a tree, bushy or fan shape and can reach 3.5 m in height with a thickness at the base up to 25-30 cm. Patchy black coral fishery are the Mediterranean and Red seas, ocean coast of Sri Lanka and the islands of the Malay Archipelago. In hardness and strength, this coral is similar to pearls and ivory.
Noteworthy, the palette of corals consists of up to 350 colors. Most often, white, but people have learned to dye coral and use in jewelry. And in Oceania there are eight lagoons full of “sun coral” which has cobalt blue color which gradually fades in sunlight. Precious Hawaiian “golden” Hexacorallia has the rare golden color. From it jewelers make expensive necklaces, pendants, brooches and cabochon inserts for rings.
Color of coral depends on the content of organic matter, illumination and impurities trapped in the process of growth. Black coral coloration is due to the presence of the substance – conchiolin. There are also yellow, yellow-brown, the most rare – blue corals. It is worth noting that jewelers use corals of all shades – red and pink and black. Regarding the black coral, there is a great myth about its expensive cost. If an inexperienced trader happens to meet with an experienced Cuban, he will be happy to tell you about the amazing noble and valuable black coral. But the truth is that the prices of the best varieties of red corals differ from the price of black, which is really cheaper.
In the seas and oceans live over 6,000 species of corals. In the equatorial zone of the Pacific and Indian oceans composed many thousands of coral islands, atolls and reefs. And one of them – the Great Barrier Reef, which stretches along the northeast coast of Australia in the Coral Sea more than 2,300 km.. Also, the Barrier Reef with a total length of about 1,800 km. along the coast of New Caledonia in the Pacific. At the eastern coast of Australia established the world’s first nature reserve of coral reefs. Its composition includes the stunning area of the underwater kingdom, as well as some areas of the Great Barrier Reef.
In jewelry, most used is Corallium rubrum, growing at depths of 20 – 200 m. Also, Corallium japonicum, growing in the Atlantic and the Pacific, mostly at depths from 100 to 1500 m. Besides, “Noble” varieties include corals painted in pink, red, orange, pink and brown. Jewelers also appreciate dark brown, blue, and black corals (akabar). The most valuable is red coral, often compared to lips of beauties.
Coral fossil is also a material for jewelry business. Florida (USA) river bed (near White Springs), and on the shore of beautiful Tampa Bay are silicified corals of red, yellow and white colors, reaching 7-10 cm In diameter. Of course, masters use these corals for creating original jewelry and souvenirs.
Meanwhile, in the 13-18 centuries Russian masters widely used corals to decorate clothing. Thanks to the close consonance of words “coral” and “king” (koral – korol), ancient Russian jewelry masters treated beads of red coral called korolek. Almost forgotten now quite old Russian name of red coral – Dragon. According to Greek and Roman legends of dragons, it is the stone found in the brain of certain dragons (possibly large reptiles or snakes).
Coral jewelry art