Daily Splash: This Precious Coral Is Four Times The Price of Gold
Our exotic neighbors to the east have obsessed over coral for ages. While in the United States we've always gone for diamonds, Japanese nobility have decked themselves in vibrant coral beads for well over a thousand years. Today, the sea's most spectacular corals continue to spellbind, but for a jaw-dropping cost.
They call the most in-demand varieties "jewelry corals," characterized by their dazzling red or pink skeletons—and by their price tags. At the end of last year, the global jewelry coral market was worth nearly $60 million. But no coral brings in wealthy buyers like the very rare oxblood, a stunning deep red variety that would put any given statement necklace to shame. Among collectors, dealers and jewel-aholics, oxblood coral has now become the most desired and expensive coral on earth.
Like a real-life underwater treasure, oxblood coral is found 350 feet below the ocean surface, and the diver lucky enough to come upon a large piece in perfect condition can sell for over $180 thousand per kilogram. That's four times the price of pure gold.
The Mediterranean used to be the world's hot spot for jewelry corals, but over the years, the coastal Italian waters have been all but cleared out by coral fiends. Now, as our planet's supply of the precious stuff becomes increasingly depleted, the main source of top-tier material is Japan. So when should we start planning our trip to Tokyo? We've been needing a new necklace or two.
Okay, we might not have a spare $180 thousand lying around. But if you're as mesmerized by Oxblood Coral as we are, you might just fall for our Love Me Knots Deep Waters Drop Necklace or our intricate Lace Crochet Tank in the color (you guessed it) coral.