Red coral has long been a revered material among Native American jewelry makers in the Southwest. Coral is made from the skeletal remains of minute sea creatures called Coral Polyps. 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 gemstone.
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 a coral jewelry set in sterling silver. Of course, turquoise is the perfect complement, and the two stones are often used together to create detailed and colorful designs as with this ring. Both stones also hold cultural and spiritual significance and some people believe wearing the stones together compounds their positive energy.
Southwest tribes such as the Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi by Spanish and European traders, ascribed spiritual and mythical significance to coral jewelry and believed that it held healing powers. Wearing red coral jewelry would create luck, increase fertility, cure illness, and 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.
The Sleeping Beauty Mine is located in Globe, Arizona and is considered to be one of the most important turquoise producing mines in the world. The gemstone got its name from the mountain where it is mined, which resembles a sleeping woman lying on her back. The mine has been closed to turquoise mining since August 2012. The owners of the mine decided to concentrate on copper mining only as the price of copper has risen significantly. There are no plans to open the mine up to turquoise mining in the future.
Noah C. - Texas, USA
"I come from a family of silversmith artists and my father claims to be the creator of shark teeth necklaces. When I was a boy, I was forced to go with my father every weekend to the local markets in Hilo, Hawaii. I would have to help him set up and display all of his handcrafted sterling silver jewelry, and while doing so polish every piece by hand. We would camp on the market grounds and sell his beautifully crafted items every weekend. Although it was A LOT of polishing and work for a young energetic boy, I loved every minute of it. On our off days (weekdays), I would watch my father creating his magnificent items and study his passion and techniques. I would sneak in at night and try to create my own piece, but my father would always catch me and help me create my own masterpiece. I have been crafting jewelry over the last few years. I really hope you enjoy my jewelry, as I really enjoyed making it." - Noah