top of page

The coral in
the media

Unfortunately, a lot of inaccurate information is written about corals and their processing into jewelry. The biggest problem is that the difference between reef and precious coral is almost never reported.

But every now and then you can find an article worth reading. Here is a small collection:


Comeback of an Elegant One

Coral has been used for jewelry purposes for thousands of years. From the origin of coral tells an ancient legend: Medusa could turn people into stone with her gaze. The Greek mythical hero Perseus cut off her head, which fell into the sea. The blood splatters gave rise to corals, which is why they are still said to protect against the "evil eye" like an amulet.

So also the Roman poet Ovid wrote: "It is a soft herb that grows not on the earth but in the sea, whose salinity makes the plant rot."

If it was previously believed that amber was the oldest gem material, with a processing history of about 18'000 years, recent archaeological research in Switzerland has shown that this opinion must be corrected. The results show that coral has been used for 30'000 years. Pieces of coral were found in Neolithic burial sites near Lausanne. (nub.)

Too good for grandma's jewelry box

She returns to the spotlight with new forms "And the winner is Catherine Zeta- Jones," it was said at an Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles. The 34-year-old Hollywood actress was the favorite of the evening. On the one hand, she received an Oscar for best supporting actress, and on the other, she reaped plenty of compliments for her tasteful drop earrings made of "Angelskin" coral by Neil Lane, artfully set with sapphires and diamonds. The picture went around the world, and coral has regained its appeal not only thanks to the Hollywood star.

"In recent years, coral has fallen into oblivion, and at times it even had the reputation of being grandma's favorite jewelry," says Emmanuelle Pfeiffer of Zurich goldsmith Philippe Pfeiffer. But now it is making a brilliant comeback. "Today, coral, with its variety of red and pink tones, its oscillation between expressive color brilliance and archaic richness of form, once again stands for luxury and elegance," says Pfeiffer.

Above all, demand is rising for high-quality coral, for evenly colored and textured, particularly large and intensely red pieces with a deep, dark color luster, called "oxblood" or "Moro" by experts. A powdery pink with the poetic name "angel skin" is also highly sought after. Worldwide there are about 2500 different species of coral in white, pink, red, orange, yellow, blue, lavender and black.

Of these species, however, only a few are suitable for processing into jewelry, as they are either too brittle or have numerous small and large holes, which makes them unsightly. The actual jewelry coral is the so-called precious coral.


Coral Report «The Deep Red»

How and where corals grow. And why it is ecologically correct to covet them The red from the sea captivates with gentle purity. Whether cut into spheres, cahochuns or sticks, smoothly cut and polished the coral seems perfect in every shape. In the past two decades, however, it was not considered particularly trendy: "Grandma's favorite jewelry!" grumbled people who obviously weren't really looking. That's over now. With its variety of red and pink tones, its expressive special shine and its imaginative wealth of shapes, coral jewelry once again stands for luxury and elegance. Demand is rising especially for large or intensely colored pieces in that deep red the experts call "oxblood" or "moro." But also the powdery pink called "Angel skin" achieves top prices.

Ecological remorse is out of place: there are corals that are protected species. but they are precisely the ones that are not suitable for jewelry making because they are too porous and inconspicuous in color. Coral canes, which in our days provide the raw material for jewelry, belong to the species that are not protected. They come from coral reefs in the Mediterranean and the Pacific. Regardless of the origin, new color variations can be discovered all the time, ranging from white to pink to salmon and dark tones. Mediterranean corals are mostly uniformly colored. In contrast, main exporter Japan supplies specimens with fascinating networks of veins and veining. These corals also have a "soul": this is what experts call the white spot in their branch bifurcations. However, it is considered a blemish and reduces the value.

The most precious corals are those with as uniform a color and structure as possible. In recent times, people have tried to reach this homogeneous appearance with inadmissible methods: More and more often corals are dyed. Even for experts it is difficult to recognize the bluff. Often only a laboratory can provide information.

Corals are formed at ocean depths of up to 300 meters. Soft polyps gradually build up filigree branching sticks, reefs and atolls by excreting a calcareous substance. The growth process is long and tough: The volume of the corals increases by only a few millimeters per year - one of the reasons why they cannot be bred. Within a human lifetime, only a tiny coral stock would build up. No wonder large pieces are rare and expensive. While the Mediterranean coral only reaches a diameter of about 15 millimeters, Japanese specimens can be up to 30 centimeters in size. The red magic has fascinated for thousands of years. Even the artisans of the Bronze Age processed coral into jewelry, and the ancient Egyptians placed it in the graves of the dead as protection against evil spirits. In later eras, too, coral was attributed with a wealth of magical healing powers. In Italy, talismans in the form of a twig have been popular since the Middle Ages: they are supposed to protect against the evil eye and all kinds of illness.

However, the lucky charms quickly resent bad treatment: corals are sensitive plants, they react allergic to cosmetics, perfumes, cleaning agents or also to solar radiation. Mostly, however, only the surface is attacked. Uncolored corals can regain their former beauty after a professional polishing.



The children of the flower animals

Ethno look and the trend colors white, gray, khaki and pink make corals the chic "musts" of this year's fashion summer. When the seafood collection in shades ranging from white to pink to red and orange is combined with plain designs.

China, Japan and India look or cool high-tech fashion: Corals harmonize with the exotic patterns of the one as well as the reduced design language of the other. Here they act as a visual pole of calm, there they provide liveliness. And they come in many nuances and cuts. En vogue ARE the classic, smooth ball chain as well as the shapes inspired by Far Eastern art.

Trendy and hip are coral cuts made in Austria: extraordinary, modern young and up-todate. Well-known jewelers at home and abroad appreciate the extensive range of Barbara Urban.


No wonder that the origin of corals is surrounded by countless myths: In ancient Greece, corals were believed to have originated from drops of Medusa's blood that fell into the sea and solidified there. Therefore, they were considered effective amulets against demons or an evil fate.

The ancient Romans called it the "noblest sea fruit" (Ovid). Cleopatra and her contemporaries swore that this substance could stop bleeding, help with bites from poisonous reptiles, and be used as an effective circulatory agent because of its color. And a Haitian proverb says that corals are bringers of joy because they make the sea goddess sigh happily.

bottom of page