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How to determine whether coral is natural or not?

Jewelry made from natural corals has a high cost. The sale of coral beads can significantly replenish the family budget if you contact a trusted company to evaluate antiques, for example, However, you should know how to distinguish natural material from imitation.

Fake options

  • The technology for producing synthetic material was created in the 70s. The starting raw material is calcite powder with the addition of silica and other components of artificial origin. Synthetic corals come in a variety of shades and are less dense. The material becomes more porous. Its price is an order of magnitude lower than its natural counterpart.
  • Reclaimed coral is made by mixing crushed coral chips with dye and polymer resin. In this way, it is possible to use waste from jewelry production.
  • A fake can be a white coral of natural origin, artificially colored red or pink.
  • Often the counterfeit is based on crushed corozo nuts. The powder contains an organic liquid that hardens when mixed with pigment. Beads made using this method are not easily distinguished from real ones.
  • There are also cheap imitations made from plaster, tinted porcelain, polymer clay, bone, and colored glass based on barium phosphate.

How to distinguish natural coral?

  • The color of natural materials is never uniform.
  • The presence of tiny air bubbles gives a glass imitation.
  • The texture of natural coral is similar to the pattern of a wood cut. Artificial minerals do not have this pattern.

Natural coral is light in weight and warm to the touch. Beads made from natural material will be lighter than items of similar size made of artificial origin.

Laboratory tests will give a more accurate result. They are easy to do at home.

  • A hot sewing needle will not leave marks on a mineral of natural origin.
  • If you place a product made from mineral raw materials in a weak vinegar solution, you may notice air bubbles. This reaction will be given not only by natural coral, but also by bone and shells.
  • A container of water will help you accurately identify natural coral. You need to place the decoration in it for 30 minutes. Natural coral absorbs moisture. As a result, the beads will become brighter.

Another sign of natural material are microscopic cracks near the hole of the bead. You need to know that natural coral is colored evenly throughout its entire thickness and is not capable of staining warm water and palms.

Where to evaluate coral beads?

Decoration made from elements of natural origin has a high cost. The cost of coral beads is influenced by several factors.

  • Age of the stone. Jewelry that is over 100 years old has a deep hue, popular with collectors and lovers of unique things.
  • Size, weight and shape of elements. Round beads with a diameter exceeding 10 mm are especially valued.
  • Color and condition of the product. The appraiser always pays attention to the depth of the shade. The presence of chips and scratches reduces the price of the product.

If there is a need to sell coral beads, It is wise to seek professional advice. A qualified assessment of coral beads can be obtained from an employee of a company specializing in the purchase of antiques.

There is a ready-made electronic form on the organization’s website. It should be accompanied by high-quality photographs of the existing beads. A qualified specialist will determine their cost free of charge. If the evaluation results satisfy the client, the company can immediately buy the jewelry. The transaction is completed quickly and safely.

Corals are considered one of the popular “stones” among jewelers. As popularity increases, so does the number of fakes.

There are a lot of imitations of coral:
1. Howlite – a gray mineral with dark veins. The natural shade of the stone is not very attractive, but it is easy to paint. When colored red, it looks a bit like coral. Imitations from howlite are found in Russia, but are not common abroad.

2. Neolithic is a mixture of aluminum hydroxide and copper phosphate. The result is uneven rounded blocks with veins. When painted red, it imitates red coral. It can be impregnated with wax to hide polishing defects. Massive colored beads very vaguely resemble coral.

3. Plastic dyeing – crude fakes of coral. It is quite easy to distinguish from natural coral – plastic imitations are immediately noticeable.

4. Pressed coral shavings with added plastics, painted. Sold in kiosks and jewelry stores. Does not last long and fades quickly.

5. The most successful imitation of coral was developed in France by P. Gilson. When creating, natural calcite and dye are used. Artificial coral is created under high pressure. This method can produce corals of the following colors: light pink, red, white, pale yellow, oxblood, champagne, pink-orange. Externally, the imitation is similar to natural stone, but has a lower density, is more porous, and contains impurities and artificial additives. The price of artificial coral is much cheaper than natural coral.

How to spot fake coral

Natural coral can be distinguished from imitation coral by its appearance: natural coral should have visible stripes, a little like annual rings on a tree cut.

rice. Parallel growth lines on the surface of a white coral bead

A fake Neolithic or howlite can be easily recognized by its high specific gravity when picked up. They are both cold stones, coral is warm.
You can recognize pressed coral if you look at it carefully: it is made up of many pieces.
It is very easy to distinguish a fake made of plastic by its appearance. In addition, you can touch it with a hot needle, and you will smell the smell of burnt plastic.
Synthetic Gilson coral does not have the subtle striped pattern seen on natural coral. Synthetics are smooth and homogeneous.
You can carefully examine the place where the hole for the thread is located: here the coral should have the same tone as the outside, and a fake stone may have a gray surface.

rice. Dyed Bamboo coralloid beads with lighter center

One of the easiest ways to distinguish the calcite that coral is made from from another stone is to drop a drop of hydrochloric or acetic acid. Calcite will fizz upon contact with acid. However, both natural coral, pressed coral, and Gilson coral are composed of calcite, and their reaction to acid will be the same.
To determine whether the color of the coral is of high quality, you need to immerse the jewelry in hot water. The water will be colored if it is a poor-quality imitation. It also leaves marks on the skin, especially if worn on hot days. If the fake is very cheap, the paint in water may come off completely.
If the imitation is done well, it will not be painted; jewelry with synthetic corals also looks impressive and is very inexpensive. But the quality of natural coral is many times superior to any imitations.
Most often, natural coral will have a noticeable texture on the surface that is not removed by staining and polishing.

Carefully inspect the coral before purchasing. This way you can distinguish natural samples from synthetic and pressed fakes.

It is worth noting that at the moment almost all natural corals on the market for jewelry materials are colored red, pinkish, orange and more exotic shades of blue, yellow, green or bleached to a milky white hue.

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