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Black Coral & orange flecks

Hi Dave, About 25 years ago, i lived in Arabia and scuba dived
extensively in the Red Sea. I found a lot of Black Coral, but only
brought up one branch (It took three trips down to saw it off) When
you find black coral in the Red Sea, about 90 feet, it is covered
with a red encrustation…you can only see the black coral after
scrubbing off the red. Perhaps this is the orange flecks that you
saw. Somewhere, nestled in my boxes of pictures, i do have underwater
pictures of what it looks like…if you are interested i will dig
and scan. I made many pieces of jewelry from this branch, and still
have pieces lying around. I haven’t seen the issue of the Lapidary
Jeweler, but look forward to it. Karen Johnston… Where it is 9:30 in
the morning, in sunny, HOT, Omaruru, Namibia…and waiting to find
out which way Florida is going with the election…while you are
sleeping! -

Hi, most of the coral branches I have worked with have had a sort of
rind on them. I have good luck taking this rind off using laundry
bleach mixed about 50/50 with water. It only takes a few minutes of
soaking and dosen’t seem to harm the coral. It leaves the growth lines
and nubs pretty well intact which can look interesting.


lm, Not sure if you are talking about ‘black coral’ or not. If you
are, the rind would be the remains of the actual coral animal! Black
coral is, after all, nothing but a protein skeleton of the octocoral
animal. If the coral was torn off a reef and bumped around awhile in
the surf, the coral crust (or rind as you say) is knocked off and only
the black (brown when wet) skeleton washes up onto the beach.
Sometimes it is ripped off the reef and is carried directly onto the
beach with the crust still intact. I work with a looottt of coral and
find the easiest way to get the crust off is…let the coral dry and
then either roll the crust in your fingers till it crumbles, or bang
it with a piece of wood and it will crumble off. Sometimes the crust
is different colors…bright red, yellow, brown, gray, white, etc.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry!

Connie, And thank you for the kind words. I did up a new coral bead
necklace the other day. There are about 24 beads, graduated, with
little (3mm) black (dyed) pearls in between. The central bead was
15mm long and 8 mm in dia. I put 14Kyg caps on each end of it next to
the pearl and finished the whole thing with 14Kyg lobster claw and
yellow french wires holding the jump rings. I made it as a demo piece
for a new store I have been working on to carry my pieces…but my
wife won’t let it go now! Guess I’ll have to make another!?

Keep working on that stuff I sent you. Never know what might come out
of it…there is so much to do.

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving and are ready for the upcoming
holidays. Cheers, Don