SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION: CaCo3, or calcium carbonate in the form of calcite,
is the main constituent of calcareous corals; minor constituents are MgCo3, or
magnesium carbonate and proteinaceous organic substances, which act as
binding agents. At 2.5 to 4, the hardness is slightly higher than that of
calcite. The skeletons of corals vary in color: from bright to dark red,
slightly orange-red, pink and white.
ENVIRONMENT: In all cases, coral consists of the branching skeletons of
animals which live in colonies planted on the seabed at depths varying from tens
to hundreds of meters. They are typical of warmish to very warm seas.
OCCURENCE: The most famous of these organisms is Corallium rubrum, which
lives in the waters of the Mediterranean and, despite its name, provides not
only red, but orange, pink, and white coral. Similar to this are Corallium
elatius, C. japonicum, and C. secundum, which mainly live off the coasts of
Japan, China, Indochina, the Philippines, and other archipelagos of the Indian
and Pacific Oceans. Coral colonies occupy large areas especially in the Pacific,
but also near the coast of South Africa, in the Red Sea, and to the east of
Australia. These latter colonies, however, consist of madrepore, which has
little in common with the corals used as ornaments.
GEMSTONE INFORMATION: Most of the coral used since antiquity as an
ornamental material comes from the calcareous skeletons of colonies of marine
organisms of the phylum Cnidaria, order Corgonacea, genus Corallium. Corals
take a good polish. They also have a certain degree of elasticity and can be
heated and bent into bangles. Thin branches were and still are polished,
pierced, and threaded, unaltered, into necklaces. Larger pieces are cut into
spherical or faceted necklace beads, pear shapes for pendant jewelry, or
cabochons. It is also used for carved pieces and small figurines, in both
oriental and western art styles. The most highly prized varieties of coral are
those that are a uniform, strong bright red.
NAME: The name is derived from the Latin [corallium,] related to the Greek
LEGEND and LORE: The oldest known findings of red coral date from the
Mesopotam-ian civilization, i.e. from about 3000 BC. For centuries, this was the
coral par excellence, and at the time of Pliny the Elder it was apparently much
appreciated in India, even more than in Europe. Red coral has traditionally been
used as a protection from the “evil eye” and as a cure for sterility. One of
the Greek names for Coral was Gorgeia, from the tradition that blood dripped
from the Head of Medea, which Perseus had deposited on some branches near the
seashore; which blood, becoming hard, was taken by the Sea Nymphs, and
planted in the sea. (8)
MAGICAL PROPERTIES: Coral is associated with Venus, Isis and Water. It has
been used as a form of protective magic for children for hundreds of years.
Cunningham recommends it as a luck-attractor for living areas. Sailors use it as
a protection from bad weather while at sea. Red-orange coral is one of the four
element gemstones of the Pueblo Indians. It is one of the four colors used for
the directions in the Hopi/Zuni Road of Life. Coral is considered a
representative of the warm energy of the Sun, and the southern direction.
HEALING: Coral’s healing properties are mostly associated with Women, young
children and the elderly. For women it is said to increase fertility and
regulate menstruation. For young children, it is recommended to ease teething
and to prevent epilepsy. For the elderly, it is used as a cure for arthritis.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: I use coral at the lower Chakras for “Women’s
Healing.” In particular, I will use it for disorders relating to female
reproductive organs. I also use it magically, to represent female fertility. I
have used it with some success for arthritis, but only for women. This is one of
the stones that I “reserve” for female/feminine use. (I use Carnelian as the
“male” counterpart.) I have not had an opportunity to try it for a young child.
1. Scientific, Environment, Occurrence and Name are from (or paraphrased from)
“Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Gems and Precious Stones”.
2. Precious and semi-precious gemstone information may come from
“Gemstones” by E. H. Rutland.
3. Other Precious and semi-precious gemstone information may come from
“Gem Cutting”, sec. ed., by John Sinkankas.
4. Legends and Lore, Magical Properties are from “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia
of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic”, by Scott Cunningham.
5. Some of the healing information may come from “Color and Crystals, A
Journey Through the Chakras” by Joy Gardner.
6. Some of the healing information may come from “A Journey Through the
Chakras” by Joy Gardner.
7. Personal Experience is from MY personal experience, journals and notebooks,
by <grin> Tandika Star.
8. Some occult lore is from “The Occult and Curative Powers of Precious Stones”
by William T. Fernie, M.D.