The Secret of the Lost Island

Antique, Three Row Necklace From "Corallo Sciacca", Sicily Around 1900

Corals from the Mediterranean Sea come in different shades of colour. Depending on the region, the depth of the sea and the growing conditions, the marine animals develop specific colour nuances, such as the deep red Sardegna corals that are fished around the island of Sardinia. Sicily provides a special coral colour and the history of these marine treasures is extremely exciting: In July of 1831, an undersea volcano erupted off the town of Sciacca, located on the southern coast of Sicily. Fishermen observed the explosions and were astonished to discover that the volcano had formed a new island. Immediately when the eruptions ended, a fierce dispute broke out over which country the new island should belong to. The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies considered it a natural part of its territory and named it Ferninandea after its king, Ferdinand II. However, Britain also claimed the new land, strategically located on important shipping routes, and named it Graham Island. The French fleet also claimed the island, which it called Julia, and Spain also laid claim to it. The dispute was finally settled by nature: in 1832, the waves had already eroded the island to such an extent that it sank into the sea and was only preserved as a shoal. But what does this have to do with corals? The repeated submarine volcanic eruptions and numerous earthquakes had caused large amounts of corals to die, which formed one of the richest deposits in the entire Mediterranean. These subfossil corals had taken on a salmon hue from storage in the water that made them distinctive. This treasure of the sea was discovered in 1875 when Bettu Ammareddu, captain of a trawler, was fishing on the shoal that was once the island. In the process, his necklace, which he had received as a gift from his sweetheart, fell into the water. When he dove for the necklace he found that the seabed was covered all over with coral. Soon the mining of the corals began, but in 1915 the deposits were completely exhausted. In this necklace we see these special corals arranged in three rows. They are beads from around 1900 with the characteristic salmon tone that makes the "Corallo Sciacca" so desirable. The strands are arranged in a progression, i.e. they become thicker towards the middle. The necklace is held in place by an original rolled gold clasp set with three coral buttons. A magnificent piece of jewellery with a history all of its own, which looks particularly beautiful worn. Illustration: Ferdinandea Island eruption by Camillo de Vito, detail, Guache, circa 1831.

Genuine Italian Mediterranean corals still inspire today with their wonderfully rich play of colours 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 colour known as oxblood or Moro coral, this wonderful natural material is characterized by the most beautiful colours 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. Only antique pieces or corals from old stock come onto the market today - the quantity is therefore limited and finite.

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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.