Summer is almost over, so I wanted to do a post on one of the great gemstones of summer: Coral.
Even though it's not really a gemstone (chemically it is similar to the pearl), coral is the "stone" of the sea. It is also one of the most ancient gems, having been used since prehistoric times. Coral ornaments have been unearthed in tombs dating from 500BC. Ancient Chinese cultures used them to signify wealth and power, and oftentimes the emperors wore red coral in their belts and headdresses. In Ancient Rome, it was a custom to hang red coral from the necks of children to protect them from harm. This is how we get to the coral jewelry we wear today.
Coral comes in a ranges of colors, with red and pink being some of the most popular for jewelry designs. The two pieces I'm showing today illustrate this last point. The earrings are very much pink while the ring is very much orange. It is usually cut into bead or cabochons for use in the jewelry design trade, and its organic characteristics inspire what some call a natural or even summery look.
Although coral has been historically used by many cultures for it's healing properties, it is still used today for the same purposes. It is said to help keep harmony, relieve tension and reduce fear. These are all very good reasons to wear coral jewelry year round, but I love coral because it has, from a design viewpoint, a lot of versatility. Coral can appear, depending on the design of the piece, exotic, elegant, natural, earthy classic or ethnic. In the earrings below, you can clearly see that this is an elegant and timeless piece, with the coral adding a splash of modern color and texture.
Coral is much softer than other gemstones, so you do have to treat it with extreme care. Be careful around hot water, perfumes and chemicals, as coral is porous and may change in texture or color. Coral should always be stored properly, and protected from scratches or blows. Cleaning it is very simple, just wipe with a clean damp cloth, dry and store to keep its unique qualities.
Hope you are enjoying your summer. Here in Miami it seems to last forever, so don't forget to keep cool and hydrated.