Sponge coral pendant featuring a highly polished orange coloured gemstone crafted in an elegant sterling silver setting. Melithaea ochracea as it's officially known is a coral not a sponge but is not endangered hence may be freely traded. It comes primarily from the South China Sea and is light weight and relatively soft so when used for lapidary purposes it must be handled carefully. On Mohs scale of mineral hardness which is a tool that's widely used to compare the scratch resistance of one gemstone against another, sponge coral grades 3½ to 4.
Rarely used in jewellery this colourful mineral exhibits a unique colour and exceptionally subtle markings and is usually stabilized because its natural tree-like structure is full of tiny holes created by polyps. When rocks and minerals are stabilised they're filled with a resin or other substance which prevents erosion. This process is also used to strengthen or repair many natural materials to enable them to be used for other purposes.
Although known as sponge coral when used as a gemstone, melithaea ochracea is more commonly known as knotted fan coral when in the ocean and grows much faster than traditional corals.
This rich orange coloured sponge coral pendant makes a distinctive and unique piece of ladies jewellery and as with all of the gemstone pendants in our collection, it has been crafted entirely by hand.