Coral comes in a variety of colors: pink to dark red, white or pink spotted, orange, blue to violet, golden brown and black, the last three being of the organic variety and rarely used in jewelry.
Black Coral: Antipathes Grandis
Mature colonies of this variety may take 50 years to grow. Today, Hawaiian black coral is the world’s finest and it is the Hawaii State Gemstone. It is carefully collected by hand by divers at depths that exceed 200 feet. To ensure the future of Hawaiian black coral, divers strictly adheres to state regulations that prohibit the harvesting of immature colonies.
Black coral is rare and, when polished, it shines with such luster you can almost see your own reflection in it. Its stunning contrast against yellow gold makes it a wonderful gift as well as a beautiful keepsake for you to treasure forever.
Pink Coral: Corrallium Secundum
Pink coral was first discovered off Makapuu Point, Oahu, in 1,200 feet of water in 1966. Now it is found over the entire length of the Hawaiian chain from Oahu in the east to beyond Midway Island in the west.
A very dense and hard gemstone, its color runs the entire spectrum of pink, from almost white to hibiscus pink to salmon red. The marbled and shaded colorings in some larger pink corals are natural qualities of the gem. The value of pink coral gemstones is dependent upon their rarity but all shades of this coral are highly prized. Divers select only the highest quality stones that meet rigid standards of excellence.
Pink coral designs reflect the beautiful and fragrant blossoms of the Islands, such as the pikake flowers, which may well, have been fashioned into the lei you may see in Hawaii.
Red Coral: Corallicum Japonicum
With a history predating the ancient glories of Rome, precious red coral has been revered since early civilizations for its color, luster and texture. Found in ocean depths of approximately 500 to 1,000 feet, red coral grows at a very slow rate-only about 1/4 inch per year - making it a highly treasured gemstone. Oxblood red coral is harvested in waters off the island chains of Ogasawara and Ryuku.
Hawaiian Gold Coral: (Gerardia Species)
Hawaiian Gold Coral was discovered in small amounts in 1971 by Dr. Richard Grigg using Star II submarine in the same general area as the pink coral discovery area off Makapuu Point in 1,200 feet of water. In the year 2000, two new beds of Hawaiian Gold Coral were discovered; one atop an ancient underwater volcano called Cross Seamount, 100 miles south of Oahu, the other off Keahole Point on the Big Island of Hawaii. Both beds are at a depth of 400 meters (about 1,300 feet). The beds off Makapuu were the only commercially harvested beds in the world.
Hawaiian Gold Coral grows at a rate of approximately 3 inches per year, and only about 3% of the bed can be harvested annually. Both State and Federal laws strictly regulate the harvest. Of all gem corals, Hawaiian Gold Coral is by far the rarest.
The color of Hawaiian Gold Coral may vary widely and display many interesting patterns, something that is not so of Pink and Black Corals. The color tone of Hawaiian Gold Coral ranges from a sandy beige color to almost black. Hawaiian Gold Coral has a special characteristic called “Chatoyance”. This term comes from the French word for “cat’s eye” and it describes a mysterious moving inner light that can be seen in Hawaiian Gold Coral.