Joyce, Thanks for the thanks! I doubt you were just lucky. I say
again…true red coral (not the ‘angle skin’ or orange stuff but
true red) is now so rare as to be prohibitively expensive. Now and
then you can find a piece of it on E-bay or even on the market but it
is probably old stock and will cost a lot. Certainly, if it is true
red coral, you would not want to cut into it unless youn have
something specific in mind…a carving, a certain stone, etc. I cut
a piece of what they call ox blood red coral a couple of years ago
into a 20x30 mm cab and it went for $400!
Look at the ‘red coral’ very carefully. It should be an even
red…even with swirls of color it will be even. If you see
blotches of darker color around any cracks or pits…that is
indicative of dye. Also, true coral will be a bit heavier than
bamboo coral or sea bamboo…actually they are different. Sea
bamboo is a heavy grass like plant that grows off Madagascar while
bamboo coral is found along many reefs around the world. Bamboo
coral can become pretty large whilst sea bamboo stays pretty small in
Read my LJ article of August 2000 to learn more about black coral.
You may occassionally come across a piece of true blue coral which
is actually a member of the Gorgonian soft coral family even though
it is more stony in nature then most Gorgonian corals. So too are
the red Organ-pipe coral and the red or pink Precious Coral.
Otherwise, most of the blue coral on the market made into beads etc
is actually stony (hard) coral that has been dyed.
For lots more on coral, check Barnes and Noble or other
good bood stores for Peterson Field Guides, Coral Reefs by Eugene H.
Kaplan, 1982 (a bit out of date actually), Houghton Mifflin Company,
Boston and New York.
Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry. @coralnut2