Using old black coral dilemma

This last year I purchased what would have been an estate of rocks
(if the person had already deceased - as it was she had just been
parallelized and could not work her stones). In all of her materials
I found several small boxes of pieces of black coral. I want to use
them some time in my jewelry work.

I think that if we checked around there would be a lot of dead coral
available for use by individuals with wisdom. How many of us on
Orchid have more than one piece we are planning on using.

Why shouldn’t pieces which have been broken off by storms or
whatever not be collected. If they are not collected, they will just
be ground up into sand and eventually dissolved back into the
minerals of the sea water.

Larry E. Whittington

Good question! 25 years ago - much too long for not going back - I
was in Maui visiting. The local friend took me to the Coral Factory
there - I still have a gorgeous polished black piece about 7 inches
long; a gold one about the same size and various vivid coral colors.
I haven’t used any part of them. I did see that the black is strange
in the center - would not make a good cab if cut across the stem.

For years while attending the Tucson show, I would pick up branches
of red coral - that has been over a period of twenty years. The only
place I have used any of it is in the channel bracelets I have made,
but having read the post about Tiffany - I suppose I better sit on
the collection.

No advice = I am giving it to myself!

Rose Marie Christison

Out here in the wilds of Western Australia, we have several thriving
prawn trawling fleets. When the nets come up, the contents are dumped
onto sorting tables. An amazing assortment of other marine life,
including some little fish with a multitude of nasty poisonous spines
the deckhands call ‘happy moments’ comes up along with the precious
prawns. Most of it is thrown back over the side with minimal chance
of survival. Sometimes, black whip coral comes up in the nets. Thrown
back overboard, it has no chance of surviving. I was once fortunate
enough to be given some and have made several pieces with it. Whilst
I would never buy it or condone deliberate ‘harvesting’, I feel it is
not wrong to use it in a piece that allows it to show its beauty. I
always make sure that people who buy these pieces understand how I
obtained the coral, and that I would never otherwise use it.

I missed the post about Tiffany and black coral. I’m a small studio
jeweller, not a volume retailer, so it’s not a case of comparing
apples with apples.

Jane Walker

Good that you worry about it Jane. Its a hard call. Your arguement
that the black coral would wind up on the ocean floor is a good one.

The biggest consideration, on items such as coral & ivory, for
example, is that by using it, you might be creating demand.

There are so many black alternative stones/materials other than
black coral, it probably isn’t a major concern with coral.

Ivory has a unique color and texture - there aren’t many natural
alternatives. And current demand has resulted in poaching and the
unnecessary deaths of thousands of elephants. Countries tend to sell
their legal ivory when they need cash. So ivory should continue to
be protected.

With black coral it is really your call - and that of your

gems to excite your imagination! ™ - since 1975

Well…here’s the dilemna: We use something procurred by accident and
make pieces. Someone else sees the piece and wants one. Now because
we don’t stock the “forbidden” item, we either have to procure it or
refuse the job. So the customer goes to someone else and they
procure it illegally and around and around. I think the items should
be thrown back into the sea and perhaps drag netting is not such a
good idea either. How do we live ecologically in this huge beautiful
planet? I struggle with this myself daily…I am electronically
sending this and using the grid…around and around and around.

Mary Frances

Frances; You cann’t be responsible for what others may or may not do.
All you can do is what you feel is right and maybe more importantly
let the customer know of the issues of Black coral. There was an
article in lapidary Journal a few years ago about picking up black
coral on the jetties around Ft Lauderdale. I personally feel that if
you scavage it from the beach It is ok but some might say any use of
it only encourages the illicet collecting of it.

Dave Owen