Fishing blue coral

Hi Orchid,

i have some blue coral from near my home in alaska, and i have been
thinking of cutting and polishing it into cabs and beads. it is a
beautiful pearlescent light blue on the outside and when cut across
the grain at an angle it has dark brown rings alternating with
iridescent blue ones. it’s really very beautiful stuff, however i
know there are many tricky issues involved with coral. the stuff i
have was taken accidentally by fishermen. i also fish commercially
part time and have seen it come up on a hook occasionallly. if it is
still attached to a rock it may survive so we throw it back.
otherwise it makes nice ornament in the garden. however, because i am
a fisherman and i depend on the health of the ocean, i do not like
to see the destruction of a live tree of coral, and try hard to
avoid it.

it happens though, so there it is, and it’s too beautiful to throw
away or leave it to rot in the garden. does anyone know about laws
concerning selling cut and polished coral? besides the law, there
is the ethical issue, if i sell this stuff and create a market,
will people start intentionally catching coral to sell it? i know
they do in other places, i’d like to think that Alaskans are
different but i know better. also, coral dust is extremely toxic
when inhaled. i know this and do all my work under running water,
but not everyone might be so careful. lastly this stuff tends to
separate and split when it dries out. what about resin impregnation
under vacuum like with emeralds? opticon? any ideas?

thanks for being the orchid,
D&S, Eclipse Gems and Design

Hi since I have kept up on such issues due to cameo carving the best
info is at US dept of Fish & Wildlife to check endangered species
list you may not be able to sell it legally in US you will have to
check. recently customs banned import of Cassia Rufa shell and that
will affect my work greatly. (cameo artist here)

I have looked into alternate substances for carving blue banded
coral sounds interesting but yes lethal dust.

Brittle I would treat it like opal then and be sure to tell my
customers it is treated for stability and wear. Doublets triplets