Red and white coral chocker by Christine Schönburg
Coral jewellery isn’t something new, but in 2019 this fantastic and versatile material will be celebrated as the colour of the year according to Pantone.
Besides being very feminine and warm, coral is one of the oldest materials used to make ornaments.
Ancient Egyptians and prehistoric Europeans were already wearing jewellery with red coral thousands of years ago. The beautiful gem was especially popular in the Victorian era and in Italy, where it was used as a protection against the evil eye. The most common coral colour is white, but you can find this organic gem in pink, deep red, orange, black, blue and gold, which is very rare.
I made the necklace featured in this article many years ago for my sister-in-law using red coral beads, pearls and crystals, and the big central part of the chocker is a white coral fossil that I found on a remote beach in Bahia, Brazil. The red and white coral flowers I used for these earrings here below came from Asia, where coral colonies are very abundant. So you see, my love affair with coral began long before Pantone chose “Living Coral” as this year’s colour.
Red and white coral earrings by Christine Schönburg
And I’m not the only one to love the scarlet treasure of the sea. Many jewellers have been using this vibrant gem in their creations. In high jewellery, designers like Verdura, David Webb, Victoire de Castellane and the American Tony Duquette to name a few, have been particularly fond of red coral, which is found in the Mediterranean and Asia and is usually made into cabochons, beads and also cameos and more intricate shapes.
Torre del Greco, in the Naples region, is world famous for its coral and for the art of carving cameos that local artisans have been passing down, from father to son, for generations. The Italian government banned fishing for coral with nets 25 years ago to prevent the over-extraction of the past. Today, only scuba divers are allowed to gather coral, and the Corallum Rubrum, or red coral, is not considered an endangered species.
Besides gorgeous and precious jewellery, we also selected some affordable coral necklaces, bracelets, pins, earrings and rings that will bring a flair of lavish Italian summer into your life.