he treasures of the sea have always fascinated people. In addition to pearls, corals often inspired goldsmiths and stonecutters to create a wide range of combinations mostly due to their unique colour. Whether as a necklace, earring or a brooch – discover our jewellery made of real Italian coral from the Mediterranean second to none in colour and quality.
Coral from the Mediterranean, corallium rubrum, was the only form known in Europe for many centuries and as such the only one used in jewellery-making. Large, polished coral pearls can be seen in Renaissance portraits of aristocratic women as well as in Baroque rosaries. Even at the beginning of the last century, short chains made of coral were given to teething toddlers, as they were said to be able to repel evil. In the 19th century, jewellery made of coral and engraved cameos were promoted as a beloved souvenir of the Grand Tour.
The fine structure and uniquely intense colour of the Mediterranean coral ensured its popularity even after the discovery of other coral species in the Far East. But Italian corals also vary widely in their nuance and colour intensity depending on their location. Sardinian coral features a particularly deep red. It has been used to create jewellery for ages and remains the only kind of coral that’s allowed to be harvested from the Mediterranean today – if not only in a very limited fashion in order to conserve their stocks.
Sciacca coral on the other hand, also known as salmon coral, is completely exploited since the early 20th century. It was first discovered off of the southwest coast of Sicily in 1875 and its discovery triggered a proper coral boom across Europe. It ignited the jewellery industry in Torre del Greco close to Naples that still exists today. This somewhat brighter coral, enchanting in its own special way, tends to provide more orange hues and is the typical coral of the late 19th century.
Finally, you’ll also find pieces made of the so-called angel skin coral, or “pelle d’angelo”, amongst our collection. This additional variety of Italian coral found on the Adriatic coast enchants with its eponymous, fine bright red veins on a white background. But just like the salmon coral, it has long since disappeared from the market. In antique jewellery alone you can still discover this wealth of nature.