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Coral history

In the collective imagination this gem evokes myths and magic. Its charm fueled by the fiery red color and the mystery of its nature and formation has remained unchanged for centuries. Today we know that the coral we work with is not a mineral but an animal (see the section on coral biology), but for centuries we have fantasized about its origins. For example, Greek mythology wanted coral to be nothing more than the blood that flowed from Medusa's head when, cut off by Perseus, it was placed on the beach. Ovid, on the other hand, was convinced it was a soft grass that hardened in contact with the air. Only in the seventeenth century. we begin to think of coral as an animal. Yet the first artifacts were found in tombs dating back 10,000 years before Christ and we have evidence that the ancient Egyptians already worked it with skill and skill.

Dipinto Testa di Medusa

Painted Head of Medusa


Coral fishing scene:
the Ingenuity is hoisted on the Corallina


Ceramic albarello for the preservation of coral for pharmacological use (17th century)

There are countless beliefs about the exceptional powers and virtues, especially medicinal ones, of coral which, in addition to being an ornamental object, would be an excellent remedy to heal the wounds of scorpions and snakes, would cure eye diseases, heart palpitations, circulatory disorders. , the decalcification of bones and, as the famous doctor Avicenna claimed around the year one thousand, would be an excellent antidepressant as it causes happiness.
There is also a coral-based recipe that allows you to see the person who is getting married in your sleep !!! Alongside the numerous ancient spells and spells in which coral appears, the most modern New Age theory, which has rediscovered the culture of the Red Indians, with crystal therapy proposes an alternative medicine in which coral is used both as a medicine and as a defense against the evil eye, envy and all negativity, a reference to the more Neapolitan "corniciello".
Legacies of a distant past? Who knows, certainly today coral is a very precious gem increasingly rare also due to pollution that jeopardizes its beauty and quality.

The history of coral is inextricably linked to the history of Torre del Greco. Since ancient times our sailors went out to sea to fish for it, inventing, the only example in the world, a “coral” boat equipped with a cruciform ingenuity for fishing for shoals.
This activity has always been very important, so much so that in 1790 Ferdinand IV of Bourbon promulgated special laws called Corallino Code in order to regulate it.
Commercially coral is divided into Mediterranean coral (Corallium rubrum also known as Sardinian coral) and Japanese coral. Apart from the morphological differences, the first has much smaller branches than the second, the main difference is given by the color.
The coral of Sardinia comes in various shades but always of a uniform red color, while the Japanese coral is often veined or spotted and with a color that varies from red to white. The many colors correspond to different names and origins. Furthermore, the Japanese coral presents along the whole branch a white spot in the red branches and red in the white branches, the so-called "Soul".

Coral biology

Coral is not a mineral but an animal, indeed a colony of animals being the calcareous secretion that forms during the growth of the colonies of polyps (polypayers) belonging to the genus Corallium (Type Coelenterates, Class of Anthozoans, Subclass of Octocoralli or Alcyonarians , Order of the Gorgonaries, Suborder Scleraxonie, Family Corallidae).
For the species the matter is much more complex, because up to now no less than 27 have been discovered distributed in the three Oceans.
The coral can reproduce in two ways or phases: by sexual reproduction, which gives rise to the colony, and by "budding" which produces an increase in the number of polypins, with consequent growth of the colony itself.

In sexual reproduction, once fertilization has taken place, there is a period of embryonic development and a larval period which together last for about 30 days. The larvae, called “Planules” are covered with vibrating cilia and have a worm-like appearance that becomes spherical when resting. The planula roams freely in search of a substrate, consisting of a natural relief or any submerged solid body, to adhere to.

At this point, following a complex morphological transformation, the planula becomes a polyp, concluding the cycle of sexual reproduction and laying the foundations for a new polypary.
At this point, the "budding" (Blastogenesis) takes place through which the primitive individual will transform, giving life over time to an infinite number of other polyps that give rise to a community of small animals that form the coral reefs. The budding occurs mainly at the extremity of the branches while at the base of the branches it ceases entirely or only in part.
Apparently it seems a very simple process and yet up to now every human attempt to intervene and in some way regulate this process has been completely in vain.

The polypary is made up of three elements: the sclerasse, the cenasarco or sarcosome and the polypins. The cenasarco is a membrane with a thickness of about 0.2-0.3 mm. which completely covers the sclerasse. This membrane is crossed by a dense network of channels that allow communication between the baby octopuses, distribute nutritional liquids, allow the growth of the sclerasse.
The sclerasse is the internal part of the polyp and is essentially made up of calcium carbonate with about 3% of MgCO3. It has a hardness of 3.5 - 4 (some varieties 2 - 3) and a density of 2.6 - 2.7 (some varieties 1.34 - 1.35).
This is the workable part and therefore, commercially interesting.












Coral fishing

In the Mediterranean, coral fishing has been carried out since time immemorial.

Surely in the beginning it was not a real fishing but rather a collection of twigs left on the beach by the tides, however we have evidence that the "trawling" fishing of coral was already known to the ancient Greeks and Romans.

This type of fishing remains substantially unchanged over the centuries, despite the advent of new technologies.

In Torre del Greco, the town where coral processing is an ancient tradition, so much so that it is the "town" of coral, the boat equipped for this special type of fishing is called "CORALLINA" and "CORALLINI" are called the men who they form the crew.


Coral processing

The processing remains essentially firm on the same empirical basis on which it arose hundreds of years ago.
Once the precious catch arrives in the Torresi laboratories, the attentive and expert eye must proceed with the analysis of the individual corms to establish what can be obtained to optimize the yield both in quantitative and qualitative terms.
The morphology of the branches, as well as the quality of the same, has a very significant importance on the final result. We must try to limit to a minimum the decrease in "scrap" processing which represents a considerable cost that affects the finished product.
The first phase of processing consists in freeing the branches from the superficial layer (Cenasarco) that covers the entire branch, it is the so-called "spalliatura".

Types of Coral

Commercial Name: Sardinia
Color: Uniform red
Fishing Seas and Depths: Mediterranean and Atlantic areas of West Africa - 30-250 meters.
Characteristics: Bushy, with an average height of 15 cm., An average weight of 100 gr. and a trunk diameter of about 8 mm.

Commercial Name: Moro or Aka
Color: Dark and very dark red with a white longitudinal "core"
Fishing Seas and Depths: Islands of Japan - Formosa - 80-300 mt.
Characteristics: Fan-shaped, with an average height of 25 cm., The diameter of the trunk about 12 mm. and an average weight of 200 gr.

Commercial Name: Cerasuolo or Momo
Color: Bright red, salmon, orange and carnacino with white longitudinal "soul"
Fishing Seas and Depths: Islands of Japan - Formosa - 150-300 mt.
Characteristics: Dimensional values superior to other species: fan-shaped, with an average height of 35 cm., An average trunk diameter of 25 mm. and an average weight of 500 gr.

Commercial Name: White or Shiro
Color: Milky white and white dotted red or pink
Fishing Seas and Depths: Islands of Japan-Hainan - 80-200 mt.
Characteristics: Fan-shaped with an average height of 25 cm., The diameter of the trunk of about 12 mm. and an average weight of 200 gr.

Commercial Name: Angel skin or Boké
Color: Flesh pink of different intensity
Fishing Seas and Depths: Islands of Japan Formosa - Hainan current of Honk Kong - 150-300 mt.
Characteristics: Fan-shaped, with an average height of 25 cm. The diameter of the trunk of about 12 mm., And an average weight of 200 gr.

Rosé or Midway
Color: White or pink dotted or streaked with red; light pink uniforne
Fishing Seas and Depths: Midway Island - 400-600 mt.
Characteristics: Fan-shaped with an average height of 25 cm., The diameter of the trunk of about 12 mm. and an average weight of 200 gr.

Color: Garnet with pink shades of various intensity
Fishing Seas and Depths: Midway Island - 700-900 mt.
Characteristics: Fan-shaped with an average height of 25 cm. the trunk diameter of about 15 mm. and an average weight of 200 gr.

Deep Sea
Color: Bright red, light pink, white always veined or mottled in garnet color
Fishing Seas and Depths: N / O of Midway. - 1000-2000 mt.
Characteristics: Fan-shaped with an average height of 25 cm., The diameter of the trunk of about 15 mm., And an average weight of 200 gr.

Selection guide

That is the weight that evaluates the size of the coral. Having a very slow growth every single millimeter of thickness requires a huge commitment from the entire colony of coral polyps. When evaluating the size of a product, the type of corals must be considered as, for example, the "corallium rubrum" commercially known as "Sardinia" has a smaller trunk (on average a branch is 8 mm thick) compared to "Japonicum" called "Moro" (whose average diameter is around 12 mm.) which is in turn smaller than the "Elatius" - also called "Cerasuolo" - (whose average diameter is around 25 mm.). Simplifying therefore, it can be said that, all other characteristics being equal, a necklace of 9 mm. it is rarer and therefore more valuable and expensive than a necklace of the same size from another species of coral.

It indicates the perfection of the coral that is the presence of all the imperfections (holes, inclusions or fractures) that can be found in the coral. The more perfect the coral structure, the more valuable the finished product will be. However, it must be emphasized that being absolutely natural products, it is easy to find, even in the most beautiful jewels, some small imperfection that does not detract from the value of the object, indeed it guarantees the consumer that it is coral and not a counterfeit.

It is the most variable parameter as it is subject to fashions and therefore to market demands. In fact, each type of coral has a specific color and numerous shades.The most beautiful colors are presented without nuances and spots. Commercially, the most popular colors are dark red and intense light pink of the “Bokè” coral better known as “angel skin”.

Fundamental is the skill and art of the "coral maker" who with careful and accurate work enhances the beauty of coral by obtaining precious objects without wasting the raw material. a gift from the sea and its magic is not overshadowed by what may seem very small defects to our eyes and which actually tell us the story of a colony of small living organisms.

NOTE : Since coral is born opaque and is then polished, to keep its charm unaltered, we advise you to avoid putting it in contact with perfumes, cosmetics, sweat and aggressive substances in general. If treated with care, the polishing will last over time and can be restored to its initial splendor.

Coral sprigs

It sometimes happens that nature offers us incredible spectacles that no set designer could have imagined. It happens sometimes that
nature seems guided by the invisible hand of a graphic designer gifted with great imagination and skilled with a pencil to mold shapes
amazing plastics. We show you a series of coral twigs that perfectly match this category.

Coral branch VP

Let's start with the logo of our company which depicts the V of Vincenzo and the P of Piscopo crossing each other. In a game of Sardinian coral, recognizing your initials was not easy but our dad's keen coral eye made it out simply by pruning it from the surrounding twigs.

The same type of coral also formed the other shapes that resemble various figures from real life.

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