Coral gemstones come from some of the most beautiful miracles of Nature – the reefs, banks and atolls found in a variety of places around the world. Specially trained divers go into the ocean depths between three and 300 meters to carefully harvest coral. Once brought up the branches are cleaned, sorted and processed using saws, knives, files or drills. It is very seldom cut or ground on a wheel. In its raw form coral has a matt finish, but once it is polished it has a beautiful shine that looks marvelous in a variety of jewelry settings. The fewer the cracks, blotches, striations and holes, the higher the quality and the higher the price. Like pearls, corals are organic and are closely related chemically; both consist of more than 90 percent calcium carbonate.
Corals come in a variety of colors: red, white, blue, brown and black. The most popular are the red hues of pale pink and salmon.
Corals have a hardness of only 3.5 which makes them softer than any other gemstone material. If you wear a coral be careful with cosmetics, hot water or bright light. Keep your coral pieces clean with a soft, damp towel being careful not to scratch the surface. If your coral does get scratched, a jeweler can have it repolished.