Gifts from the sea: pearls and corals

The sea, infinite and mysterious, gives us two extraordinary creatures that we can boast of: the pearl and the coral.

Their beauty has long inspired the creativity of our atelier, so much so as to favor the creation of fairy-tale jewels …

An ancient story

The Pearl

It arises from a calcium carbonate secretion called mother of pearl that the oyster emits to defend itself from foreign bodies. This substance, interacting with other minerals, forms that precious object of various shapes and colours known as a pearl. The most common pearls are round and white, but there are also cream, pink, purple, brown, gray, black, green, blue pearls: some are formed in nature, others thanks to technology. Same thing for the shapes that can be spherical, oval, drop, irregular, rice grain.

There are two different types of pearls, those of sea and those of river or lake which are called freshwater and are usually recognisable by their particular irregular shape, usually light in colour.

The most renowned and precious sea pearls are those of the South Seas and the black pearls of Tahiti. Black pearls are rarer – because the oysters that produce them are much more fragile and delicate and die more easily – therefore more expensive.

The inside of the shell where the oyster lives is covered with mother-of-pearl which, due to its marvelous glows and shades of various colours, is used to decorate or create objects considered valuable, while pearls are used to create jewellery or decorate clothes and accessories.

The coral

The term “coral” comes from the Greek and means “hard skeleton”. It is the limestone branching of red, sometimes rose, rarely white, inside which live microorganisms in the shape of small polyps that feed on plankton and live in numerous colonies usually attached to the rock, from twenty / thirty meters deep under the sea ​​level, up to two hundred, preferably in dark and sheltered places such as caves, crevices, overhangs.

Red coral is typical of the Mediterranean, but can also be found in some areas of the Atlantic. In Italy it can be found in large quantities in Sardinia in the area of ​​Alghero, called Riviera del Corallo for this, and in the Marine Reserve of Portofino in Liguria. At one time coral was also fished in Sicily and in Torre del Greco where there is also a school for coral processing and a coral museum.

Torre del Greco is considered one of the most important centres in the world for coral processing.

The ramifications of the coral can even reach 20-30 cm in length, but they have a very slow growth, equal to 3-4 cm per year, therefore the fishing is carried out by expert divers who collect only the longest branches to safeguard their species.

Coral is worked, carved, sculpted, to create jewellery and art objects.

Considered by the most ancient popular tradition an amulet of apotropaic value, that is to defend oneself from evil, still today it is given to babies for their coming into the world or for their baptism in the form of a bracelet.

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