Fossil Coral is a very unique gemstone. Not just in its appearance but also in its creation. Over the course of millions of years the skeletal remains of billions of tiny marine animals - the coral polyps that make up the colorful reefs found in tropical waters - turn into rock which can be turned into stunning gemstones.
The various coral types such as fern, brain, honeycomb, horn and more lived and died in the warm shallow oceans leaving behind tons of calcium carbonate. As the sea floors shifted up and down, the corals were covered in sediment and through a process of heat, pressure and time turned into silica or quartz.
More properly, Fossil Coral should be called ‘Agatized Coral’ but that does not sound so good!
Fossil Coral can be found in a range of colors but the gemstones tend to be creamy white to fawny brown in most cases. Anything with a pinkish or reddish hue is much appreciated while less attractive grays and off-whites are more likely to be used for industrial rather than decorative purposes.
The colors can vary from stone to stone and within the gemstone itself due to weathering, oxidation and the different minerals present during formation.
Read more about gemstones colors here
Fossil Coral Species
Fossil Coral has been referred to as an organic gemstone since it has biological origins but all traces of the original marine animal and its calcium carbonate shell and skeleton have long disappeared.
Molecule by molecule, over the course of millions of years, the primary material has been replaced by cryptocrystalline quartz commonly called agate.
We need to be careful not to confuse Fossil Coral with Precious Coral. Fossil Coral is a quartz which is formed over millions of years from ancient sea life while Precious Coral, is a gemstone quality variety of natural coral - very much like the coral you see in tropical reefs - but a deep water version which grows at depth of over 500 feet in dark environments.
What are the spiritual benefits of Fossil Coral?
As Fossil Coral is a combination of coral and agate, it carries the strength of double the metaphysical powers. Agate is known to be a grounding and stabilizing influence while coral has long been thought of as a protecting force.
Other strengths include:
- Brings About Change
- Promotes Peace
- Improves Circulation
- Helps Achieve Financial Goals
See our detailed article on gemstone meaning and uses
Fossil Coral and the Chakras
We each have seven main Chakras located about the body which can influence use both physically and emotionally. The Chakras all have an associated color and gemstones of a similar color can be used to unblock a trouble Chakra.
With its general earthy or sandy tones, I feel Fossil Coral is most attuned to the Root and Sacral Chakras. Any gemstone with a striking patch of color like red, green or orange can steer it towards a different Chakra.
Find more details on Chakra gemstones here
Fossil Coral Price
Although color is a very important aspect in the value of Fossil Coral it will have to combine with the small flower-like shapes that decorate the surface of the better examples.
A distinct pattern with bright yellow, red or orange colors would be a most attractive gemstone especially if the Fossil Coral is evenly colored across the whole body of the gem.
Fossil Coral gemstones can be readily found in large carat weights so this will not affect the price per carat dramatically - the value is all in the color and pattern.
Fossil Coral is a very reasonable priced gemstone and exceptionally beautiful examples can be bought for as little as $1 or $2 per carat.
Fossil Coral is not known to be treated in any way although we have heard a few reports of some heated material on sale. Unfortunately this is very difficult to detect even in sophisticated laboratories as the heating temperatures are said to be very low.
We will always disclose any treatments that we are aware of.
Fossil Coral History
Precious Coral has a history of decorative use that stretches back 10,000 years and since it is so soft it could easily be carved into beads or amulets. Fossil Coral is considerably harder and much more difficult to engrave or drill but since these interesting stones or rocks are commonly found on beaches or crumbling cliffs they are easy to access.
The movement of water and the wearing down by sand and soil would have left a very alluring object for any curious passerby and someone skilled in shaping arrowheads or stone axes would quickly learn how to make a Fossil Coral pendant or ornament.
Where is Fossil Coral found?
Almost all fossil coral specimens are found in Indonesia or the United States, Florida and Georgia in particular. Florida has even declared Fossil Coral as the official 'Florida State Rock'. Indonesian fossilized coral is considered to be the most desirable and unique.
What jewelry is Fossil Coral suitable for?
Fossil Coral is rated at 6.5 to 7 on Mohs hardness scale which makes it considerably harder than Precious Coral and ideal for use in all jewelry items even for daily wear.
The large gemstones with interesting colors and patterns would be ideal for unique one-off pendants or anyone keen on making their own jewelry at home.