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Home: Gemstone Beads: Agatized Fossil Coral Beads

About Agatized Fossil Coral

agatized fossil red coral beads

Agatized fossil coral is scientifically identified as a "chalcedony pseudomorph after coral." In other words, it is ancient coral that gradually turned into the gemstone agate. The process occurred when silica in the ocean water hardened, replacing the limy coral. This massive preservation of coral reefs creates a beautiful fossil, in which the skeletons of the coral appear as tiny "flowers" on the stone. Colors vary widely, depending on the extent of exposure to iron and other elements in the reacting water solutions. Agatized fossil coral typically occurs in gray, brown, black, yellow, white and, on rare occasion, red. Starting in 2008, we first saw the Indonesian fossil coral processed in China enhanced. Using a process similar to that used to make agate a red carnelian color, the beige or buff-colored fossil coral is turned red. We expect to see a lot more enhanced red agatized fossil coral on the market.

While most of the agatized coral in the bead marketplace comes from Indonesia, specimens of agatized fossil coral are found in the U.S. states of Florida and Georgia. About 35-45 million years ago, during the Eocene period, Florida was part of the continental shelf and was covered with water. Its reefs contained corals quite different from those today. These corals were simple marine invertebrates that possessed a sac-like body called a polyp, with a mouth and tentacles. They formed a dense outer skeleton of calcium carbonate which, when living in large colonies with thousands of cloned individuals, formed a massive structure. The complex folds in their stomach cavities can be seen in the marvelous detail left behind in their skeletons. Some theorize that these detailed patterns were the inspiration behind millefiori ("thousand flowers") glasswork.

agatized fossil coral beads

Prehistoric corals are believed to have thrived in the same environments that modern corals prefer — clean, warm oceans with normal salinity levels. Corals today share a symbiotic relationship with the algae that cover their body tissue. The algae supply the coral with oxygen, which most likely was the case in prehistoric times as well. The Florida Legislature designated agatized fossil coral as its state stone in 1979.

Agatized fossil coral has been worn by humans for many centuries. It was commonly used to ward off the "evil eye." It was also believed to draw luck if used as an ornament in the home. Sailors used coral as a talisman against bad weather. Coral is also associated with the female reproductive system and has been used in ancient healing traditions for women's health problems. Mystics use the stone to support trauma therapy and work through emotional issues from dysfunctional families.

Types of Agatized Fossil Coral

  agatized fossil coral
more examples

Agatized Fossil Coral


aka Agatized Coral, Fossil Agate Coral, Fossilized Agatized Coral, Fossil Coral, Fossilized Coral, Petoskey Agate, Petoskey Stone
This variety is the semiprecious gemstone desribed above.
  Red agatized fossil coral beads from Rings & Things Wholesale

Red Agatized Fossil Coral


Starting in 2008, we first saw the Indonesian fossil coral processed in China enhanced. Using a process similar to that used to make agate a red carnelian color, the beige or buff-colored fossil coral is turned red. The fossil coral is often dyed as well; dye may fade over time.
 

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