From the hundreds of coral species that inhabit the earth’s warmer waters, only a few varieties are highly prized for making jewelry because of their beauty, hardness and brilliance. There are four precious corals that are found in the Hawaiian waters that are made into beautiful gems. These Corals are Black Coral, Pink Coral, Gold Coral which can Only be found in Hawaiian waters. This is also the order of rarity of corals of Hawai’i. The majority of the coral is too soft for carving and builds on reefs near the surface of the ocean, as it needs light to survive. These reefs protect the island from large waves and provide a complex ecosystem of ocean life.
Precious corals grow in such deep waters a submarine belonging to the University of Hawaii is needed to gather the corals. These corals don’t need light to grow and can be found in waters of 100 to 1600 feet deep. Precious corals are hard thus ideal for jewelry making. In 1977, Hawaii's passed laws regarding harvesting of specific coral beds. The University of Hawaii strictly regulates the corals by weight and size, to ensure its longevity.
Black Coral was the first of the precious corals found in the Hawaiian waters. Black Coral is also The Hawaii State Gem Stone. Black Coral grows at depths of 250 to 350 feet deep. Annual rings, like those in trees are present in Black Coral. These rings are counted to determine the age of the coral. Black Coral grows about 2 1/2 inches a year.
Pink Coral is commonly found at 1100 feet and deeper. Pink Coral grows 1/3 of an inch annually. The life span of Pink and Black Coral colonies is approximately 70 years. Pink Coral colors range from a Very light whitish color, to a deep shade of pink.
Gold Coral is currently being strictly regulated therefore is scarcer and more expensive. Some species reveal hints of bluish-green Opal like colors. Gold Coral is found in Hawaii and Alaska only. Gold Coral grows at depths of 1150 to 1600 feet.
How to care for your Coral: Because Coral is produced by a living organism it cannot be put into jewelry cleaning solutions. The best way to protect your coral jewelry is to rub mineral oil on about every 6 months to preserve their natural luster. To own a beautiful piece of Hawaiian precious coral jewelry is a treasure that is sure to last a lifetime and beyond.