Corallo Sciacca

Bracelet made of antique sciacca coral with gold-plated silver clasp, 1900/2021

Hand-cut corals from the Mediterranean have always been the pride of southern Italian jewellery makers - and they are now rare jewels from a time when corals still populated the seabed in large numbers and delighted travellers to Italy with their beautiful colour. Mediterranean corals occur in various 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 which 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 watched the explosions and were astonished to discover that the volcano had formed a new island, and as soon as the eruptions ceased, a fierce dispute broke out as to which country the new islet 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 virgin land, strategically located on important shipping routes, and named it "Graham Island". The French fleet also claimed the island, and Spain also laid claim to it. The dispute was finally settled by nature: by 1832, the waves had eroded the island to such an extent that it sank into the sea and remained only as a shoal. But what does this have to do with corals? The repeated submarine volcanic eruptions had caused the death of large quantities of corals, 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. The salt water had bleached the deep red of the coral branches. This huge coral treasure was discovered in 1875, and mining of the coral soon began, but by 1915 the deposits were completely exhausted. In this bracelet we see these special corals arranged in three rows. They are pearls from the years around 1900 with the characteristic salmon tone of the "Corallo Sciacca". The pearls came to us from an old stock and we had them re-strung and completed with a clasp made of gold-plated silver. The result is a new bracelet using coral that is over 100 years old and tells the exciting story of the salmon-coloured sea treasures. Image: Ferdinandea Island eruption by Camillo de Vito, detail, Guache, circa 1831.

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" as far as the value of Mediterranean corals is concerned. 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.