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Coral & Amber
Corals are small anemone-like, ocean dwelling polyps that exist together in large colonies called calices. The material that we refer to as coral is actually just their hard exoskeletons. Most of these exoskeletons are made up of calcium carbonate, but can also include a substance called conchiolin. With a hardness of only 3.5 coral has been used in carvings, jewelry and decoration for thousands of years. Ancient Greek mythology claimed that coral originally formed from the blood of the newly slain Medusa, while Romans used coral as protection for children and to diagnose diseases. Due to over harvesting and ocean protection laws natural colored coral has become very rare. Most commercial coral is now bleached and dyed to replicate the most shades of coral (most commonly red and pink). Just like with turquoise, if you are more interested in purchasing the natural coral make sure you buy from a reputable seller so you get what you paid for.
Amber is fossilized tree resin (not sap) that formed millions of years ago. Since it is made of organic material, amber is not considered a mineral but instead an "organic gem" (same as jet, shell and coral). It's very, very soft with a hardness of 2-2.5 and because of that it's been used in jewelry and ornaments for thousands of years.Amber deposits can be found all over the world (from Austria to New Zealand) but the finest quality amber comes from the Baltic. The colors of amber can vary from buttery yellow, to clear "amber" color, to brown, to red (referred to as cherry amber) and in rare cases even blue! Unfortunately, blue amber (found in the Dominican Republic) is so rare that most of the material now exists in private collections. In Greek mythology it was believed that when Phaeton (the son of the sun god Helios) was killed his sisters grieved so deeply that it turned them into trees and their tears became amber.
Prices mentioned in Lost Cities' emails, blogs, handouts, websites, etc. are effective the date of publication. They are subject to market conditions and availability and may be modified as necessary at Lost Cities' discretion. Lost Cities Beads 2802 Juan St. #14 San Diego, CA 92110 (619) 692-1114 Monday-Saturday 10am - 6pm Sunday 10am - 5pm Closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day Questions, comments? Contact us either by phone during business hours, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright Lost Cities 2009