Black Coral Jewelry

Black Coral Jewelry

Hawaii Black Coral – A Natural Treasure One of the natural treasures of Hawaii is the famed Black Coral, several species of which live in the euphotic ocean zone around the islands. In 1987, the coral was named the official Hawaii state gem. There are some 230 known species of black coral, spread throughout the oceans of the world, mostly in the Indian and Pacific. Most of them live in very deep waters, at depths of between 300 and 3000 meters. However, around a dozen species make their home near land and sunlight, taking the form of large shrub-like or tree-like growths; you can see them first-hand if you take a diving trip at a Hawaii resort. Like all other corals, black corals are colony organisms, with a large protein-based skeleton covered in a “coenosarc,” a layer of tissue that connects the individual polyps to each other via a nervous and digestive system. The polyps, in turn, dot the surface of the coral with thousands of tiny mouths and tentacles turned out to catch prey and feed the colony. Black corals are prized by jewelers because of their intense and unusual color. (Incidentally, in its natural habitat, black coral isn’t black – the polyps are often brightly colored, but they’re hiding a jet-black skeleton.) Unfortunately, they are extremely slow growers – the colony thickens by only between 4 and 35 micrometers per year. For this reason, many Black Coral species have become endangered, and the coral is subject to environmental protection laws that carry strict harvesting quotas. For this reason, black coral jewelry can run you a pretty penny, depending on the species. While shallow-water Gorgonian black coral is relatively common and not terribly expensive, true deep-water Antipatharian coral, hauled from 300 feet below water and very strictly rationed, can cost hundreds of dollars for a 10-inch unprocessed branch. High-quality black coral gives an incomparable tone and luster, but is difficult to process, which drives up the price of jewelry even more. If you can afford it, Antipatharian coral jewelry makes for a unique and precious gift for your Hawaii wedding!
black coral jewelry 1

Black Coral Jewelry

One of the natural treasures of Hawaii is the famed Black Coral, several species of which live in the euphotic ocean zone around the islands. In 1987, the coral was named the official Hawaii state gem. There are some 230 known species of black coral, spread throughout the oceans of the world, mostly in the Indian and Pacific. Most of them live in very deep waters, at depths of between 300 and 3000 meters. However, around a dozen species make their home near land and sunlight, taking the form of large shrub-like or tree-like growths; you can see them first-hand if you take a diving trip at a Hawaii resort. Like all other corals, black corals are colony organisms, with a large protein-based skeleton covered in a “coenosarc,” a layer of tissue that connects the individual polyps to each other via a nervous and digestive system. The polyps, in turn, dot the surface of the coral with thousands of tiny mouths and tentacles turned out to catch prey and feed the colony. Black corals are prized by jewelers because of their intense and unusual color. (Incidentally, in its natural habitat, black coral isn’t black – the polyps are often brightly colored, but they’re hiding a jet-black skeleton.) Unfortunately, they are extremely slow growers – the colony thickens by only between 4 and 35 micrometers per year. For this reason, many Black Coral species have become endangered, and the coral is subject to environmental protection laws that carry strict harvesting quotas. For this reason, black coral jewelry can run you a pretty penny, depending on the species. While shallow-water Gorgonian black coral is relatively common and not terribly expensive, true deep-water Antipatharian coral, hauled from 300 feet below water and very strictly rationed, can cost hundreds of dollars for a 10-inch unprocessed branch. High-quality black coral gives an incomparable tone and luster, but is difficult to process, which drives up the price of jewelry even more. If you can afford it, Antipatharian coral jewelry makes for a unique and precious gift for your Hawaii wedding!
black coral jewelry 2

Black Coral Jewelry

Black Coral From Hawaii’s Deep Blue Waters The Au’au channel between Maui and Lanai possesses an 8 mile vein that includes some of the richest black coral beds in the world. The coral grows into lacy underwater trees. The “trees” are the skeletons of polyps that form huge colonies (coral is scientifically classified as an animal). When most people think of coral reefs, they think of shallow water tropical reefs. However, corals are not restricted to tropical reefs, coral grows in many types of sea floor habitats ranging from the shallows to the abyss. 90% of black coral sold in Hawaii originates in the Philippines and is shipped through Taiwan. Most of this product is in the form of black beads in necklaces and bracelets; small amounts of cabochons are also imported. The primary species for these productions is cirrhipathes anguina, popularly known as whip coral, which is found at the shallower depths than species of antipathes. The quality of black coral jewelry produced from C. Anguina is inferior to products fashioned from A. Dichotoma and A. Grandis because it is of lower density and the jewelry does not maintain a high luster after several years. Thanks to the swift Lahaina currents, the pristine waters, the depth and the warm temperatures, the coral in Hawaii grows as hard as ivory and mostly free of larvae and organisms, increasing its value. In 1987 black coral was designated the official “state gem.”
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The Au’au channel between Maui and Lanai possesses an 8 mile vein that includes some of the richest black coral beds in the world. The coral grows into lacy underwater trees. The “trees” are the skeletons of polyps that form huge colonies (coral is scientifically classified as an animal). When most people think of coral reefs, they think of shallow water tropical reefs. However, corals are not restricted to tropical reefs, coral grows in many types of sea floor habitats ranging from the shallows to the abyss. 90% of black coral sold in Hawaii originates in the Philippines and is shipped through Taiwan. Most of this product is in the form of black beads in necklaces and bracelets; small amounts of cabochons are also imported. The primary species for these productions is cirrhipathes anguina, popularly known as whip coral, which is found at the shallower depths than species of antipathes. The quality of black coral jewelry produced from C. Anguina is inferior to products fashioned from A. Dichotoma and A. Grandis because it is of lower density and the jewelry does not maintain a high luster after several years. Thanks to the swift Lahaina currents, the pristine waters, the depth and the warm temperatures, the coral in Hawaii grows as hard as ivory and mostly free of larvae and organisms, increasing its value. In 1987 black coral was designated the official “state gem.”
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Welcome to Aulani’s Jewelry! A traceable history of sustainable harvest We offer a fine selection of unique handcrafted jewelry made from authentic Hawaiian Black Coral; direct from the divers. See our selection of fine black coral jewelry. We now also offer our black coral jewelry set in 14K gold. As  well as our black coral jewelry, we feature Charms of Aloha, hand made on Maui, compatible with most charm bracelets. We also carry black Tahitian pearls from local designer, Mark Kane. Featuring Now
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Faux Coral: This coral is not a coral. It is sold under a variety of names. It is made from crushed up or powdered coral that is glued together with polymers (or whatever) and then shaped to look like coral. These products use any bit of coral and may be one of the primary reasons that younger corals and smaller species of coral are targeted. In previous times, only the skeletons of older corals and larger species were used. Now, any age and size is vulnerable.
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White Coral: It appears that white coral is a bleached, filled and polished coral. No one seemed to know what specific type of coral is used (maybe low quality bamboo or red coral). (There is a true “White” coral, but it is not used in jewelry making).
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90% of black coral sold in Hawaii originates in the Philippines and is shipped through Taiwan. Most of this product is in the form of black beads in necklaces and bracelets; small amounts of cabochons are also imported. The primary species for these productions is cirrhipathes anguina, popularly known as whip coral, which is found at the shallower depths than species of antipathes. The quality of black coral jewelry produced from C. Anguina is inferior to products fashioned from A. Dichotoma and A. Grandis because it is of lower density and the jewelry does not maintain a high luster after several years. Thanks to the swift Lahaina currents, the pristine waters, the depth and the warm temperatures, the coral in Hawaii grows as hard as ivory and mostly free of larvae and organisms, increasing its value.

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