Coral is a precious material from the sea which is becoming increasingly endangered due to a loss of the pristine water conditions and natural ecosystem that allows it to grow. If we were to take better care of our environment and minimize pollution, we would all be better off, but that is all for another blog.
Coral has been used in orisha necklaces across the Atlantic. It is a material that has captivated many and is imbued with many sacred properties. Coral is indispensable in the initiations of priests of Yemaya and Erinle. The wearing of coral is called for in many odd, especially Oshe, and it is said to purify the blood when worn and also attracts prosperity. Who wouldn’t want that?! There are many different forms of coral and a variety of colors. One of the most well-known is red-coral, sometimes called ox-blood. Mediterranean red coral has been prized over the centuries, and Southern Italian red coral is consistently in high demand. There are Italian museums dedicated to the stuff, filled with exquisite art and jewelry in fiery material. The Yoruba are not the only group that wears coral for its properties. Have a look at Indian astrology. According to your chart, you may be told to have a piece of jewelry made with specific stones, including coral, to wear. You’d better believe millions of people spend a lot of money to buy the highest grade of stones for their personal vedic astro-jewelry. Imitations won’t do.
My favorite thing to see is elderly santeros and santeras decked out in their incredible gold and coral jewelry, huge rings with red coral cabochons, strings of spherical coral beads around their neck, and gold and coral earrings that are beyond elegant. Coral is meant to be worn. One slightly salty perspiration feeds the coral when in contact with the skin and keeps it and is looking healthy. Natural coral is very, VERY expensive. The strands you find for sale that look like coral with the $10-$100 price tag are actually something called bamboo coral, which is very different and has been dyed to make it look like the real thing. Don’t get me wrong; there is a lot of expensive but artificial coral out there too. When buying coral, it is best to do so with a reputable dealer, someone that knows about gems and haute jewelry. You can sometimes find antique pieces for sale, but again, be careful of counterfeits.
One real, small piece of coral that you have invested in is worth all the dyed “coral” out there. Perhaps buy one real red coral bead or cabochon and have it mounted in silver or gold to wear it. You can also have coral (which occurs not just in red but a variety of colors) incorporated into orisha beadwork, namely necklaces and ides. That way, you are actually benefitting from the spiritual and health properties that are inherent in the material. It’s a bit like imitation crab meat (krab); it might be tasty, but you know it’s not the real thing by the price. The same goes for coral and what we can call “Koral”, making a distinction between knowing when koral can be used and when coral should be used.
Red coral is a type of precious coral that is prized for its bright red color and unique properties. It is a type of marine invertebrate that is found in the Mediterranean Sea and the waters of the Indo-Pacific region and is harvested for use in jewelry, decorative objects, and other applications.
In the Yoruba tradition of West Africa, red coral is believed to have a number of spiritual and magical properties and has been used for centuries in various cultural and religious practices. It is often used as a protective talisman and is believed to have the power to ward off negative energies and bring good luck.
In Yoruba spiritual practices, red coral is often associated with the orisha Oshun, who is the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. It is believed that red coral can help to attract love and enhance relationships, and is often worn or carried as a symbol of love and commitment.
However, due to overharvesting, red coral populations have been severely depleted in some areas, leading to concerns about its sustainability. As a result, there has been a growing interest in finding alternatives to red coral for use in these types of products.
One common alternative to red coral is a type of plastic or resin that has been dyed to mimic the appearance of red coral. These materials are often used in costume jewelry and other decorative objects and are widely available. Other alternatives to red coral include glass beads, ceramic beads, and other types of natural materials, such as turquoise, jasper, and carnelian. These materials may not have the same characteristics as red coral, but they can still be used to create beautiful and unique jewelry and decorative items.
Red coral is also believed to have the power to enhance creativity and intuition and is often used in meditation and other spiritual practices to enhance the connection to the divine and to access higher states of consciousness. It is also believed to have medicinal properties and is used to treat a variety of ailments, including headaches and respiratory issues.
Overall, red coral is an essential and highly valued material in the Yoruba tradition of West Africa and has a long history of use in various cultural and spiritual practices. Its unique properties and rich symbolism make it a highly prized and sought-after material.