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Ch. 13: Coral

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288                          PRECIOUS STONES.
breastpins, and brooches, are prepared therefrom for personal adornment, with this salutary view, and. are for disposal to tourists who visit the Island.
Corals, though beyond the actual pale of Precious Stones, are nevertheless to be in some sort regarded as' jewelry. Scientifically they are " calcareous aggre­gated skeletons of defunct coralligenous zoophytes."
Each single polype has inhabited one of the diminutive cells which are now massed together on a common earthy base. By continued growth, and aggregation, great banks of Coral become formed, which are known as Coral reefs. " These are confined to seas in which the temperature of the water during the winter does not sink, on an average, to below 68° or 66° Fahr."
The most important Coral fisheries extend along the coasts of Tunis, Algeria, and Morocco. Red Coral is also obtained in the vicinity of Naples, and on the coasts of Corsica, Catalonia, and Provence. A condition very essential to the welfare of living Coral polypes is an abundant supply of pure, and properly aerated sea-water. The Red, or Precious Coral (Corallium rubrum) is, and has been from remote times, very highly prized for jewelry, personal adornment, and for decorative purposes. Furthermore, it exercises distinct, and very beneficial medicinal properties. Of old, too, it was highly esteemed in India as a substance endowed with occult sacred virtues.
The Gauls, as Pliny relates, were in the habit of using coloured Coral for ornamenting their weapons of war, and their helmets. Among the Romans branches of
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