The Italian Job

Antique double row necklace made of Italian Mediterranean coral, around 1900

We will probably be denied a holiday in Italy in the near future, but perhaps a little piece of Italy in the form of natural corals can console us? The natural salmon red of coral has always inspired jewellery designers and artists. Hardly a portrait of an Italian beauty is conceivable without the red pearls from the seabed embellishing earlobes or décolleté. But while in the 19th and early 20th centuries the Mediterranean still produced many corals of jewellery quality, it is due to both climate change and overfishing of the coral reefs that our modern age can hardly harvest this precious natural material any more. This necklace from around 1900 features beautiful salmon corals up to 9 millimeters in diameter. Their colour is a rather uniform shade of salmon, typical of the so-called "Corallo Sciacca" found off the coast of Sicily. The two rows of hand-cut beads are arranged in a gradient and become thicker towards the centre. A coral-studded clasp made of gold-plated tombac completes the beautiful necklace, which is strung with a little air so that it falls beautifully. This is how a dream of longing from turn-of-the-century Italy has been preserved that still enchants today.

Genuine Italian Mediterranean corals still inspire today with their wonderfully rich play of colors with a pronounced wealth of variations. From the creamy white of the Adriatic coral to the delicate pink of the angel's skin coral or Pelle d'Angelo to beautiful light and dark salmon red shades to the strong dark red color known as oxblood or Moro coral, this wonderful natural material is characterized by the most beautiful colors of nature that the sea can produce. For centuries an integral part of princely and later also bourgeois art chambers, coral jewellery, especially from the region around the Bay of Naples, enjoyed unprecedented popularity, particularly in the 19th century. The stocks of some coral species, which are now under strict protection, as well as the demand for natural corals, which has increased dramatically in recent years, make coral jewellery a sought-after treasure today more than ever. Today, experts are already talking about the "diamond of the future" in terms of the value of Mediterranean corals. Only antique pieces or corals from old stock come onto the market today - the quantity is therefore limited and finite. So the value of corals can only increase!

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.