Precious coral is a species of coral that grows in rocky sea-bottoms, typically in dark environments either in the depths or in dark caverns. The coral skeleton is composed of hard calcium carbonate, colored by carotenoid pigments. Coral exhibits a range of warm reddish pink colors ranging from salmon pink to deep red; the word coral is also used to name such colors.

Owing to its intense and permanent coloration and luster, Precious coral skeletons have been harvested since antiquity for decorative use. Coral jewelry has been found in ancient EGYPTIAN and prehistoric European burials. Most precious coral is harvested in the Mediterranean sea, especially in Sardinia. Deposits are also found in the Pacific, in Japan, Taiwan and Australia.


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