i don't normally spout out my opinions, but i feel strongly enough
about this one to post some thoughts and see if i can't save some
coral in the process.
generally speaking, coral isn't harvested sustainably and i have to
wonder how much of what is harvested is actually used. unlike other
"gems" coral is a living organism and a valuable part of the larger
underwater ecosystem. it is also endangered.
my understanding is that most coral used for jewelry is not from the
coral reefs we all hear about dying off in great quantities, but i
read an article that was still sad and scary to me in many ways. it
stated that itlay is the largest harvester of coral and that their
method of "fishing" for coral is to, "dredge the sea bottom using a
specially designed net called an ingegno, a web of ropes attached to
a weighted wood cross or beam that is dragged along the ocean floor
by a fairly large sailing vessel. This tears up the coral and brings
it to the surface."
not only does it tear up the coral, but dredging up anything off the
bottom of the ocean disturbs a delicate and intricate part of the
ecosystem. i'm also guessing that any other animals and organisms
living in, or around the coral are also brought up and then later
tossed back, dead (along with the coral that wasn't good enough)
into the sea.
"Though they cover less than 0.2% of the ocean floor, coral reefs
are home to approximately 25% of the ocean's species. Do the math
and that comes to roughly 5000 species of reef fish scattered among
2,500 species of coral! But unfortunately two-thirds of the world's
reefs are perishing: 10% are degraded past recovery, while 30% are
in critical condition and may die within ten to twenty years. This
is unfortunate, because the corals protect the shorelines, make
wonderful fish nurseries, and give food, shelter and protection to
almost a million marine species."
even if the coral used in jewelry isn't generally being harvested
from the reefs, other corals are just as valuable to their location
and part of the ecosystem and they too take years and years and
years to regenerate.
just some food for thought. i don't mean to offend anyone, or
preach, i just wanted to put some ideas out there as to the
sustainability or lack thereof of using coral in jewelry.
please, if anyone out there knows of companies using sustainably
grown and harvested coral, let us know!
all quoted is courtesy of an article by Roy DeNunzio for
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