Coral has long been valued and cherished for its beauty by both Eastern and Western cultures. In Asia, precious coral – the species of coral used for jewellery – is native to the western Pacific Ocean, most notably in the waters near Taiwan and Japan. Taiwan, in fact, has been a majorsupplier of processed coral since the 1970s.
In interviews with JNA, major Taiwan-based coral companies shared how a strong demand for coral is fuelled by its unique qualities and cultural significance, adding that the gem has the potential to reach an even larger market.
George Lu, manager of Chii Lih Coral Co Ltd, said he never tires of telling people that coral is Taiwan’s most beautiful gem. “I believe Taiwan is currently the world leader when it comes to the processing of coral. This is something every Taiwanese should be proud of. For a long time though, Taiwan’s coral was only exported to other countries. Many Taiwanese people are therefore unaware of Taiwan’s intimate relationship with coral. We’ve been trying to change this,” Lu explained.
Coral jewellery is also a potential source of growth for the industry. While coral jewellery may come across as traditional, Stan Lu, executive manager of Liang Yu Coral, believes they are not necessarily old-fashioned and can be embraced by a new generation of jewellery lovers.
“Younger consumers often have the impression that coral jewellery is something only worn by their mother or grandmother. We want to change this perception. We’ll continue to focus our efforts on jewellery design this year. A new line of dainty and trendy pieces at more affordable price points will be launched to cater to younger customers. We hope coral jewellery can become fashion items that one can mix and match in everyday life, just like diamonds and coloured gemstones,” he said.