A few weeks ago we purchased some fossilized red horn coral from a local gem dealer. He had acquired a nice quantity of the coral and thought it would be perfect for our inlay jewelry. We had never heard of red horn coral, but the nice range of red to pink colors and the dealer’s assurance that it would take a nice polish persuaded us to give it a try. Here is our first piece of jewelry utilizing the fossilized red horn coral. The coral we inlaid in this silver ring is a nice red-orange color with great depth. Fossilized horn coral is fairly hard and does indeed take a great polish. Check out the ring! http://www.shop.hilemansilverjewelry.com/Red-horn-fossil-coral-inlay-sterling-silver-ring-W106ssRedHornCoralOnyx.htm
This red horn coral is from Utah and is about 390 million years old. A great inland sea once covered Utah and much of the western United States. As the earth evolved, the inland sea receded and sediments covered the coral reefs. Over time the structure of the ancient horn coral was fossilized and replaced by agate. The fossilized red horn coral is also known as rugosa coral. I will spare you the details but if you would like to read a more detailed description of horn coral go to http://www.palaeos.org/Rugosa.
Here is a photo of some of the fossilized red horn coral rough we purchased. It is an interesting stone to cut and work with. It requires some thought and patience in cutting to maximize the yield and retain the beautiful pattern, but I think the resulting piece is worth it. Look for more red horn coral jewelry coming soon!
Note: This is not living coral from our current coral reefs in our oceans. This coral died hundreds of millions of years ago and is found in the Utah desert.