Like turquoise, coral holds a special place in the hearts of Southwestern Native American people. Although it’s commonly mistaken for a rock or gemstone, coral is actually made out of the skeletal remains of tiny marine creatures called coral polyps. Its organic origin makes coral appealing to anyone who appreciates nature, and its colors—ranging from a deep red to a gentle orange to a sheer white—make Native American coral jewelry desirable to anyone who appreciates natural beauty.
The Significance of Red
While all shades of coral are beautiful, the deep, bold, striking red color of blood coral is especially captivating. The color red is significant to many American Indian people for many reasons including its connection to the ocean, known as the Earth’s lifeblood in many American Indian legends.
Because blood coral pieces from the sea have a red hue, the close connection to nature and Mother Earth is most evident in coral of this color. The color red also symbolizes a number of other concepts in American Indian lore including strength, energy, war, wealth, beauty, and happiness.
As early American Indian people would gain social status or wealth over time, they would add coral beads to their necklaces, adding to the symbolism and lore. Due to the powerful aspects associated with this material, it’s not surprising that Native American coral jewelry remains so popular today.
Each piece we provide at Southwest Silver Gallery is guaranteed authentic, and most include the artist’s hallmark and/or a certificate of authenticity. Own a wearable piece of art and a fascinating piece of history by adding coral jewelry to your collection today.