ELISABETH NEWTON PEARLS
I am the first to admit that I love coral – its texture, its coloration, its form. Yet I often grapple with the fact that coral often has an unknown source of origin.
Using coral in my Spring line has gotten me thinking – is all coral bad coral? Why has coral has joined the rankings of other controversial materials such as ivory and gold?
From what I have read, the largest percentage of threats to coral comes from shifts in ocean acidity and temperature. In terms of humans, coral controversy these days often relates to the fast growing, easily accessible, shallow water coral that is stripped and harvested for aquariums. Think the stuff you see when you go snorkeling.
The coveted pink and red pieces that you often see in jewelry is a deep water, cavern growing coral. The good news is that this is tougher for people to get to; the bad part is that this type of coral is slow growing and- once stripped- needs time to replenish itself. So what’s a coral loving jeweler to do?
I stick with purchasing Italian coral. The Italian market is highly regulated as to not over harvest the reefs. Knowing that it is monitored and protected, I can have my cake and eat it too – awesome pink coral without a guilty conscience. I know this doesn’t resolve the coral problem 100%, but I feel strongly that it is a step in the right direction.
Want more info? Check out this awesome article on coral in the jewelry industry or this article on Italian coral regulations.
Images: pinterest; gucci spring 2012 collection
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