Coral jewelry has a timeless appeal, and is more popular than ever today. It's really our specialty and one of our favorite types of jewelry. The demand for coral continues to grow despite new trade and harvesting regulations. All of our coral jewelry is vintage and has been in the U.S. for many years. Coral is an organic gemstone and unfortunately, coral reefs are endangered. They are threatened by warming ocean waters, harmful bacteria, pollution, and destructive fishing methods. Unfortunately the jewelry industry sometimes gets blamed for the diminishing supplies, and more restrictions are being put on harvesting it. Fine coral jewelry is getting rarer and more expensive all the time.
The prices have tripled in the last 5 years. You can think of buying coral like an investment, the price of coral jewelry will go up, because the supply is very limited. The premier coral on the market is still "oxblood" red coral which is from the species Corallium. Most of it is harvested in the deep waters of the Mediterranean, and then polished and cut in Italy or Japan. Pink or Angel skin coral is always popular and commands a high price too.
Coral's relative softness is one reason it has always been popular for jewelry. It is easy to carve and polish to a glossy sheen. In addition to beads, you will often find it carved into cameos, fruit and flowers.There is no limit, except the jeweler's imagination.
We have some pieces that are from the Victorian era to the more recent past. We try and carry a great variety of styles and colors, and of course every spectrum of red. See our coral jewelry that is for sale.
Coral Jewelry was very popular in the nineteenth century. It was a tradition for children to wear coral necklaces and it was thought to ward off diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits and danger. The Europeans in the Victorian era thought coral had curative and protective powers. It was a favorite christening present for the Victorians. That is why you will often find antique necklaces and bracelets in small sizes. Naples, Italy became the central source for coral and most of the expert carvers and jewelers were from Italy. They carved it in many shapes, flowers, charms and beads. They were often used in cameos and brooches. The dark red and orange red colors were the most plentiful. Here are a few lovely samples.
Chokers, chatelaines, lavalieres, earrings, feathers and festoons were all the rage and very fashionable. Coral was still found on brooches, cameos and all types of jewelry. Coral was used more in its natural branch form.
Many varied influences worked together to produce the style called Art Deco. Egyptian, geometric and modernist designs take the place of flowers and fleur-de-lis. There were sleek smooth surfaces and clean lines. Many natural materials were popular such as, ivory, jade, onyx, amber, coral and gemstones, especially in bold colors. Coral was still found on brooches, cameos and all types of jewelry. Coral was intricately carved and also used more in its natural branch form.
The 1950's were a time of rebuilding and renewal after WWII. Americans were inceasingly affluent and style savvy, they looked to Hollywood starlets for fashion styles and designs. It was a decade of timeless styles, focusing on a glamorous lifestyle. Rhinestones were added in exemplified by Coral was intricately carved and , also used more in its natural branch form.
In the 1970's coral jewelery and beads were being manufactured in the Philippines. They made very interesting handcrafted jewelry mixed with exotic shells, woods and natural materials. The designs were colorful and bold and often required expert craftsmanship. The most popular corals used were sponge corals that were red, white and blue denim. The white corals were often dyed in pastel colors, Exotic sponge corals like apple and tiger were also very popular. They made intricate mosaic pieces in both geometric and figural designs. Some of the most collectible pieces made were lions, florals and other sea creatures. The designs often were stabalized with resin and backed with plastics. They are true works of art and such hand craftsmanship is difficult to find now. Lee Sands was one designer who manufactured this type of jewelry in the Phillipines.