Coral is cut into gemstone beads from the natural porous skeletal deposits that form in the sea. Most coral beads used in jewelry are color enhanced. Coral beads are generally white, pink, red and blue but can even be gold or black. If artificially colored, the color is changed by various methods, including using dyes, heat treatments and chemical treatments. Coral beads might also be reconstituted from dried "coral dust." Coral may be shined to a glossy polish as in bamboo coral, or have a rough, coarsely textured finish, as in sponge coral.
Treat your coral necklaces, bracelets, earrings and anklets gently. Lightweight, soft and delicate in its organic origins, coral gemstone jewelry is easily chipped and requires special care if it is to last.
Don your coral beads after you've cleaned your skin of perspiration and dirt, and after you've already put on any perfumes, lotions, makeup, hairspray and scented oils. Cosmetics, acids and other chemicals can damage or stain coral.
Keep your coral beaded jewelry out of the heat and sun as much as possible, to avoid fading the color.
Keep your coral beads out of highly humid areas and avoid getting your coral jewelry wet, as water with chlorine and other chemicals can damage it. So remember to take off your coral beads before you bathe or go swimming, either in a swimming pool or at the beach.
Keep your jewelry out of overly dry conditions, as well. Coral does best in moderate humidity.
Store your coral beads in acid-free tissue paper separate from other stone and metal jewelry that might damage them. Do not use plastic or other airtight containers that don't allow the coral to "breathe."
Avoid wearing your coral beads next to coarse fabrics that might scratch it.
Take special care when wearing coral bracelets and rings, which are likely to get wet, bumped and abused the most.
Touch the coral part of your jewelry as little as possible.
Clean the beads with a damp cloth after use and blot tjem dry with a soft microfiber cloth.
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Terri Rocker, a fiction writer since the 1980s, now writes Web content and does ghostwriting for clients. Her work has appeared on ModernMom.com and eHow.com. Her romance fiction is published electronically by Mundania Press. Besides writing, Terri has run a jewelry design business and worked in the retail and hospitality industries. Terri has a bachelor's degree in sociology.