Precious coral, a gift from the ocean / Japan Coral Association
Octocorallia and hexacorallia / Growth / Coraland people /
How to harvest / Where to harvest / Conservation

Coral and people

The links each have between world culture and history

Precious coral

"The mystery of the ocean"loved since ancient times

Reef-building coral

Association with marine animals, plants, and people
Precious coral, like pearl, has long fascinated people as a precious jewel of the sea. In Germany, coral beads have been found among 25,000-year-old Paleolithic relics. The ancient Romans put coral in cradles, praying for the healthy growth of the child, and soldiers went to war wearing coral as a charm against evil. Mediterranean coral was brought to Japan from locations along the Silk Road and is now found among the treasures of the Shoso-in, the Imperial Treasure Repository in the city of Nara, Japan.
Precious coral has more than just decorative significance in the Islamic and Hindu as well as Christian and Buddhist religions in which all use coral as amulets and some as prayer beads.
Apart from such religious uses, Chinese and Indian peoples have prized and used coral for medicinal purposes, while people in calcium-poor regions have taken it as a supplement. Precious coral, loved as the March birthstone in Japan, has also been an essential accessory for any woman at important events.
This coral grows quickly upward and toward the open sea, while producing a massive calcium carbonate formation. Broken and collapsed coral pieces, together with other materials such as shells, turn into the sparkling white sand on reefs and coral islands. Reefs help protect shorelines from waves and support a diversity of animal and plant life inside and attract bigger species of fish from outside.
Coral reef ecosystems and human activities are closely connected, and water-based leisure and recreation such as scuba diving greatly impact them. It is essential that this balance be positively maintained.

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