These beads are from an estate and I believe they are authentic red coral. There are 12 strands of 20" tiny beads and they have a woven slip clasp with ivory bead. Beautiful coloring in these.
FAQ - Ivory, Fossil, Coral, Bone and Shell
Coral, like the pearl is an organic gem of the sea composted mostly of calcium carbonate. It varies in color from pink to red and even black. Some coral is dyed to enhance its color. For centuries coral was considered as protection from evil especially when worn by a child. Testing coral is difficult. Acid will effervesce when touching coral but should only be done by a professional. Store coral in a cool place and clean with a water damp cloth.
Elephant ivory includes ivory from both Indian and African elephants, as well as ivory from mammoths and mastodon. It has a fine, even grain and is easily carved in all directions. The importation and sale of ivory in many countries is banned or severely restricted because of rampant poaching during the 1980's. Read more about the carving and traditions using elephant and other ivories HERE
Fossil ivory, or old walrus ivory comes from two sources. Most is excavated by Eskimos from old village sites and is 100 to 2,500 years old. The color of the ivory depends on the length of time buried and the color of the soil. Some villagers make their living today by carving walrus ivory into useful and decorative items.
Some old walrus ivory is collected along the beach after a storm and is called Beach Ivory. Most of the beach ivory comes walruses which have died from natural causes and is usually found as tusks or sections of tusks and can range from white to black in color.
Fossil walrus ivory comes in all sizes and colors and is used for carving, scrimshaw, jewelry and knife handles. Bone or horn jewelry is made by the carving and finishing of animal bone. Some say this is the earliest form of ornamentation.
Bone beads are among the earliest beads used by man. They can be distinguished from ivory by the grain. Where ivory has a smooth engine-turned grain, bone has a jagged uneven grain.
Shell jewelry was also one of the earliest forms of ornamentation as well as used for monetary exchange purposes. It has remained a popular form of art much being made in the seaside communities of nearly every country. A popular Victorian art form, some pieces have survived and today are valued and highly collectible. Shell jewelry is still being made and is a popular summertime fashion accessory. However, some of the beautiful shells once popular are now illegal to harvest since their quantites have been depleted.
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