Coral Jewelry Culture

Red coral has long been a revered material among Native American jewelry makers in the Southwest. At SilverTribe, we have a leading selection of coral jewelry made by some of the most skilled artists in the industry today.

Coral is made from the skeletal remains of minute sea creatures called Coral Polyps. The colonies form reefs and atolls as they grow deep under the sea. Coral jewelry is sought after by collectors due to its beautiful coloring and organic origin.

Because if its rock-like hardness and vibrant color, many people consider coral to be a gem stone. Coral was first introduced to Southwestern tribes such as the Navajo, Zuni and Hopi by Spanish and European traders, who had a steady supply of coral mined from Mediterranean coastlines.

The coral came in many shades, from deep red to orange and even white. Red was the most common color used in coral jewelry and was referred to as "red gold."

It is actually one of the only materials used in jewelry that was once part of a living organism. The most popular varieties of coral jewelry feature red coral, which is more desirable and only found in certain parts of the world. The water temperatures and climate all play a role in how the color and durability of coral is developed. 

When Europeans began exploring the Americas, they brought plenty of red coral for trading, which was abundant in the Mediterranean. Some historians believe the Hopi and Zuni were among the first tribes to make coral jewelry, and made beads for use during snake dances.

Southwest tribes ascribed spiritual and mythical significance to coral jewelry and believed the held healing powers. Wearing red coral jewelry would create luck, increase fertility, cure illness increase the wearer's lifespan.

Wearing red coral jewelry also signified social prominence in some tribes and those who wore multi-strand red coral necklaces were held in high regard among their peers.

Coral is used in many forms in jewelry, both as beads and gemstones placed in rings, bracelets and necklaces. As the craft of coral jewelry making evolved, artists made coral jewelry set in sterling silver. Of course, turquoise is the perfect compliment and the two stones are often used together to create detailed and colorful designs. Both stones also hold cultural and spiritual significance and some people believe wearing the stones together compounds their positive energy.

Our coral jewelry is made to the highest standards of quality and value. We obtain our inventory from some of the most skilled artists who honor the same techniques used when this unique stone was introduced to tribes of the Southwest. Browse our collection and see why our coral jewelry is some of the most popular and beautiful examples available on the market.

Whether coral is ground and polished to form beads or used as a stone set; SilverTribe only offers the very best coral bracelets, coral necklaces, coral earrings, coral rings and coral pendants. All of our coral jewelry is sold at heavily discounted prices so that our customers can benefit from these luxurious products at a great value.

How To Ensure a Long Life for Your Coral Jewelry

Coral is an organic organism used in jewelry. It typically undergoes a treatment process to enhance color and durability. You can do your part to make sure coral jewelry will last for many years by avoiding temperature swings, ultrasonic cleaners, heat and chemicals.

Coral may undergo several forms of treatment before it is of high enough quality to be used in jewelry. It may be either dyed or bleached to enhance color or impregnated with colorless wax or plastic to improve quality for shaping and polishing. Luster enhancement is another technique used. Coral is sometimes lab created. At SilverTribe, it is our goal to provide the best stones available that meet or exceed industry standards.