ABOUT OUR CORAL (It's Fossil Coral)
The British Virgin Islands has great natural resources in the way of white sandy beaches, beautiful blue water, great sailing and great diving. But natural resources such as iron, coal and other minerals have never been present here. 100's of years ago, there was once a copper mine, but it is now only of archeological interest. However, the BVI does have one great (mineral) resource generally unavailable in colder climes: Fossil Coral. And we have found a way to make use of it to obtain the purest and creamiest material with which to bring our designs to life.
Fossil Coral Rock is coral that has no living coral or remains of living coral on it when it is collected. It may be collected underwater or on the shore. To safeguard the environment of the BVI and ensure that we are ecologically correct, we collect all our coral from on shore ensuring that there is no danger to any living coral reef or living reef structure.
To be technical, Fossil Coral Rock is the stony remains of polyps which lived anywhere from hundreds of years to millions of years ago. When white stony corals live and grow under the sea they form colonies, of many different types and shapes, and their bodies join together with a calcareous shell that is attached to its neighbor. Different species make different patterns and shapes as can be seen in the photographs below. These colonies form the reefs which today surround thousands of tropical islands. As time marches by pieces break off, fall to the bottom, more polyps grow on top and the reef consolidates.
Fossil coral rock may then be found as whole pieces or, later on in time, enveloped in coral stone. Coral stone is formed when coral, rolled over the bottom of the ocean, is ground down into fragments as small as the finest sand and then time and pressure of layers above compress and harden the composite mixture into stone. Anegada, in the British Virgin Islands, has both loose and enclosed coral.
As eons pass, the great tectonic plates, which make up the crust of our earth, move about and some of these shallow reef systems are then lifted from beneath the ocean. Many coral islands throughout the world have been made this way and Anegada is a prime example. Once an underwater reef itself and still surrounded by reefs today, it is rising up as St Croix in the US Virgin Islands marches north. It is a great source of an almost unlimited supply of Coral Stone and Fossil Coral Rock which we can then grind up and purify for our use.
Fossil Coral Rock from Anegada is from at least the Pliocene era (over 1.8 million years old) as Anegada is thought to arisen from the sea shortly after that in the Pleistocene era.
Ancient Coral Stone (from Anegada) with embedded coral
Loose Fossil Coral Rock too big for us to process
Found in the middle of Anegada, about a mile from the sea.
This piece is about 2 feet high.
Anegada, from the international space station.
The dark blue on the outside is the deep ocean. The paler blues are the waters between the islands of the B.V.I., from 10 to about 80 feet deep. A long low coral island 15 miles long composed of limestone, fossil filled coral stone and Fossil Coral Rock, Anegada rose out of the sea some million and a half of years ago.
We could never destroy anything as beautiful as these live corals shown here underwater for mere monetary gain.
Live Coral comes in many colors
Coral reefs are one of the most complex and colorful tropical ecosystems and natural pigments in coral tissue produce a range of colors including white, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Most coral polyps have clear bodies. Their skeletons are white, like human bones. They generally get their color from the zooxanthellae, algae that live inside their tissues. Several million zooxanthellae live in just one square inch of coral and produce pigments. These pigments are visible through the clear body of the polyp and give the live coral its beautiful color.
The Coral Studio Color Range
Tropical Rose is The Coral Studio's original color which reproduces the pink pigment found in natural red-pink coral, Corallium rumbrum.
Cup Coral Yellow
This very closely resembles the color of live Cup Corals, a picture of which can be seen just above here.
(Don't forget that we only use fossil coral, not live coral, for our works).
Chosen for it's lively brightness like the Caribbean Sea and Sky.
The color of a shallow sea above a beautiful sandy bottom.
Sea Fan Purple
Resembles the color of underwater Sea Fans and Tube Sponges.
Fire Coral Yellow
Fire coral is ubiquitous on underwater reefs. Some varieties are branching and some encrusting.
Both are the color of high quality Dijon mustard. So is ours.
Not named for any coral, The Coral Studio's Wedgwood Blue is reminiscent of the colors first produced by Josiah Wedgwood, at his Staffordshire pottery in England during the 1700's, in his famous Jasperware. Josiah Wedgwood was born in 1730, into a family with a long tradition as potters. At the age of nine, after the death of his father, he worked in his family's pottery. In 1759 he set up his own pottery works. Jasperware, a type of fine-grained, unglazed stoneware that had been colored by the addition of metal oxides, was introduced in 1775. Jasperware was usually ornamented with white relief portraits or Greek Classical scenes. Jasperware is still produced by the Wedgwood pottery today.
Celadon Green has been added to the Virgin Island Fossil Coral line to reproduce the magnificent shades of Jade that the Chinese produced long ago. Travel back to China in the third century B.C. and you'll likely discover the birth of Celadon. This famous Chinese green ceramic glaze, made to resemble Jade, and was originally produced in Longquan city, in Zhejiang province. The first making of Celadon began in the Jin Dynasty (265-376 B.C.). When these Chinese wares first appeared in France during the 17th century, they were named Celadon. The word Celadon is probably a corruption of the name Saladin, Sultan of Egypt, who is said to have given forty pieces of Celadon ware to the Sultan of Damascus in 1171. The Chinese word for Celadon is 'Doh chin' which means 'green bean glaze', while the Japanese name is 'Seiji'.