Coral is one of the gemstones of organic origin. It is created by tiny anemone like sea creatures, the coral polyps, which remove calcium carbonate from the water and deposit it in their tissues as crystalline calcite. Coral reefs are found in warm shallow coastal waters. The Mediterranean, Gulf of Biscay, Canary Islands, Malaysia, Midway Islands, Japan and Hawaii are all areas where coral is harvested. Torre del Greco, south of Naples, Italy has been the main center of the trade and processing of coral for centuries. Over half of the world's coral harvest is still processed there.
The name coral comes from Greek "Korallion", also Gorgeia from the myth of Perseus slaying the Medusa. Medusa's drops of blood are said to have become red coral. It was thought to be the life essence of the Mother Goddess who lived on a "tree" of coral in the ocean.
Coral colors range from deep red "oxblood" to pale pink Pelle D'Angello, or "Angel Skin". Corallium Rubrum or Corallium Nobile, "precious coral", is most valued as a gem. Black coral is found in Hawaii, and a blue coral is also used for beads and ornaments. Today much coral is harvested in the Pacific, around Japan and other islands. This coral is larger and has a white center that distinguishes it from Mediterranean coral. It is called "fiore blanca", or white flower by the Italians.
One must also be wary of imitations, as some even show false growth rings that fool the buyer. Coral has been valued since Paleolithic times. It was a source of wealth in some cultures, used to decorate clothing and as jewelry or statues. In India, Tibet and China coral is a valued gem. Marco Polo wrote of coral accents on Tibetan temples. In China, Red coral hat buttons were used for high ranking Mandarins. In early Rome, coral was used to protect children from ill health and to drive away evil spirits. It was though that coral would fade if the wearer became ill and regain it's deep color when health returned. Coral branches were tied to cradles and on babies's necks. It was also used in teething, even in Victorian England and America. The "coral and bells" was a baby's teething toy that also drove away evil with it's sound. Women used coral to regulate menstrual cycles, and as an aid in childbirth. It was also a talisman against the evil eye and witches, lightning strikes and bad dreams, and to protect travelers or ships at sea. The Pueblo Indians create red coral fetishes, and Tibetans have prayer malas of red coral beads. Hindus believe it to be a blood purifier which calms anger, jealousy or hatred.
Vibrant red coral is used as a protective amulet. It also helps the wearer access inner warrior energy or wildness, to gain confidence and be determined to reach goals. It aids decision making, and helps in creative projects and visualization. Red coral helps with survival issues, and helps motivate one to find the energy and passion needed to take a stand in life and do what is necessary. It also attracts love and passion, stimulates sexual energy, and may balance emotions to create harmony. Pink coral is a gentle heart stone, and blue coral aids communication, while black coral also helps remove negativity. Red coral is used in FENG SHUI, hung in the home to clear negativity and to protect the occupants, and for good luck.
Chakras: Root, Spleen and Solar Plexus.