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Declaring Coral “Too Precious to Wear”

Oct 15, 2010

by TempleStClair

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers in posting about the same social issue. This year’s focus is water and in honor of the initiative, we’re focusing on the role coral plays in the health of our marine ecosystem.

temple-author2.jpgTemple St. Clair fell into a life of jewelry design when she found herself in an artisan’s studio in Italy. She was studying Italian literature and art history and wanted a piece of “real” jewelry for herself. Having had immersed herself in a multitude of Byzantine, Medieval and Renaissance images, nothing that was commercially available appealed. So she set out with a sketchbook full of doodles to meet a Florentine jeweler who would make her ideas come to life. The next thing she knew, she had the beginnings of a full-fledged business. Twenty years later, inspiration still comes to her through literature, myth and art.

I enjoy an advantage as an established designer: I’m able to wield some influence out in the world on issues that I care about. One of my most important initiatives is ethical sourcing, making sure that our materials are sustainable. All diamonds that we use are “conflict free,” meaning that they are responsibly mined. The same goes for gold; more and more gold on the marketplace these days is recycled metal. This is a great way to go since gold can be reworked easily and this causes no ill effect on the environment.

My most recent environmental initiative involves coral conservation. I’ve been a scuba diver and lover of the ocean since I was little, so marine issues are close to my heart.

For centuries, coral, particularly the red and pink varieties, has been used in jewelry. It is a beautiful material, but what many people don’t realize is that coral is a living organism and is being harvested indiscriminately. Coral makes up the foundation of the marine ecosystem. Basically it is the rainforest of the sea, providing food and shelter to over 25% of the ocean’s biodiversity. 

I’ve been working with SeaWeb’s “Too Precious to Wear” campaign to bring awareness of coral conservation to the jewelry industry. In the last year, numerous designers and retailers have pledged not to use or sell coral. It’s important for consumers to know what they are buying and where it is coming from. The hard corals that work in jewelry are very long growing and cannot be farmed. Mediterranean coral is practically depleted, and Pacific coral is harvested with trawlers that completely destroy whole ecosystems. The current practice of harvesting coral is completely unregulated and if it continues, there will be no more coral. 

Coral_Rendering.jpgShoppers can help. They can bring more awareness to the cause by asking about materials, or by just saying no to materials that are neither ethically nor sustainably obtained. You can also be part of the Too Precious to Wear campaign by signing a pledge that you will not buy coral. This does not mean you have to hide coral away that you may already own. I even have a necklace that my mother gave me in the ‘70s. I hold on to it and use it as a conversation point.

As for creativity, the beauty of coral can be celebrated in multitudinous ways without stripping it from the bottom of the ocean. In my upcoming spring collection I’ll be creating shapes of coral in gold, sapphires and diamonds. Coral’s form and color are beautiful in patterns in textile design; it can be imitated in porcelain, ceramic, glass or resin. But I will never buy a piece of coral again. I will not support the demand and I will let all of my friends and colleagues know why. Being informed is half the battle. 

A rendering of a design from Temple’s upcoming
spring collection, which does not employ coral.
You can follow Temple’s latest news on Facebook.

 

Do you fight for a cause through your art? Share in the comments below.

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206 comments

  • RecycleRestyle

    RecycleRestyle said 7 years ago

    Thank you for this article. An object like coral is so beautiful it's no wonder so many artists strive to use it in their work. Since we usually see it when it's dead (out of the water) your article reminds us that coarl is actually a crucial living organism that needs to be preserved. Well done! :)

  • rozzie

    rozzie said 7 years ago

    Interesting. Coral is very beautiful. It is a challenge sometimes to find out where coral beads come from.

  • jammerjewelry

    jammerjewelry said 7 years ago

    Just love the coral jewelry! The article is intriguing. Congrats!

  • sciencecrush

    sciencecrush said 7 years ago

    Great article, and wonderful images. Coral and science inspire my artwork; my Coral Milagro (Etsy item #56552011) is a celebration of the beauty of coral minus the environmental damage - Art is a wonderful way that we can inspire and teach about the natural world without stripping the earth of its resources. Carpe Diem!

  • Colettesboutique

    Colettesboutique said 7 years ago

    That is a very informative article. Thank you; So many of us are not aware of these issues. It's good to spread the word and get educated about the materials we use. I will definitely pay more attention the materials I buy in the future.

  • ginaregina

    ginaregina said 7 years ago

    good article!

  • avantanthologue

    avantanthologue said 7 years ago

    Thank you very much for this. I wish someone would also do an article on how bird feathers used for jewelry, etc. are sourced.

  • calloohcallay

    calloohcallay said 7 years ago

    Great article! I also cringe when I see live seahorses (er, formerly live) used in art or jewelry, since many species are endangered and insufficiently protected.

  • RomanceCatsAndWhimsy

    RomanceCatsAndWhimsy said 7 years ago

    Interesting article! Lovely selections.

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage said 7 years ago

    Thanks for the info, it is beautiful and so are todays picks!

  • awinthrop

    awinthrop said 7 years ago

    Great article! People need to know the potential impact various materials have on the ecosystem.

  • bbbennyandthejet

    bbbennyandthejet said 7 years ago

    I love that more artists are becoming aware of sustainability in their craft. As a chef of a local and organic foods restaurant, it's always at the front of my purchasing mind!

  • catrocks

    catrocks said 7 years ago

    Great piece. I agree -- I've stopped buying coral as well and am only using vintage coral

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 7 years ago

    This blog is the exact reason I use found raw materials like mastodon ivory. Thanks! Beautiful designs.

  • DecoFamara

    DecoFamara said 7 years ago

    Great Article. Very interesting. Love coral color.

  • cassuccino

    cassuccino said 7 years ago

    I've often thought it wrong to use coral in any form of art. It is definitely beautiful but nowadays you can find some pretty realistic looking faux versions, which I much prefer as I know nature was not disturbed for it. =) Thank you so much for this article/reminder/petition. =)

  • KMalinka

    KMalinka said 7 years ago

    Great article and lovely items!

  • sabahnur

    sabahnur said 7 years ago

    oh this blog event looks fantastic,and the fids... excellent

  • ecouturejewels

    ecouturejewels said 7 years ago

    Thank you so much for this article! It's great to see a respected designer calling attention to sustainable materials. It IS possible to make beautiful pieces out of old materials!

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy said 7 years ago

    thanks so much for your enlightening post. i didn't know the were harvested from the wild. i thought they were farmed for some reason. also, people should be watchful for endangered furs, skins, and feathers whether they are vintage or new.

  • jenniferdennispotter

    jenniferdennispotter said 7 years ago

    Great article, thanks for raising awareness on this issue. I won't wear coral.

  • jenniferdennispotter

    jenniferdennispotter said 7 years ago

    signed the pledge, thanks for posting.

  • SSSJ

    SSSJ said 7 years ago

    Great article.

  • FeltShmelt

    FeltShmelt said 7 years ago

    Great points - I love thinking of coral as "the rainforest of the sea." It's great to raise awareness around this issue. Thank you!

  • LucentJewels

    LucentJewels said 7 years ago

    Thanks for bringing this issue to more people's attention. We've been seeing less and less natural coral on sale in the UK for the last few years for this reason. I have heard that farmed sea bamboo is a sustainable, natural alternative to coral, but would welcome more info on it, if anybody has any.

  • RevolvingStore

    RevolvingStore said 7 years ago

    Great way to make a difference, Lovely selection of coral color items!

  • tanisalexis

    tanisalexis said 7 years ago

    similar to ivory of days past, coral is yet another natural material that is best where it originates. some day we'll all have collections of amazing jewelry that is coveted and loved for where it came from...a bit sad that it is something that is rare & not ethical but also beautiful in it's own right. thank you for this reminder. corals ARE like the rainforest of the sea.

  • seaurchin

    seaurchin said 7 years ago

    Haha...can you see that this article is close to my heart!? ;) I love coral and strive to emmulate it in my work. It is so easy to buy without thinking and we're all guilty of it in one way or another, many raw materials for beads are mined or cut in appaling conditions, but it is so tempting to purchase such beautiful things and brushing to the back of our minds where they came from. ( I made such a purchase only yesterday)

  • ClareBears

    ClareBears said 7 years ago

    excellent points. As a diver myself, I want to see coral in all it's glory underwater where it should be. off to sign the pledge.

  • genisepark

    genisepark said 7 years ago

    Thank-you. I love the color but am not interested in being part of the destruction of such a beautiful and delicate eco system. The picks are a great replacement for me.

  • craftgypsy

    craftgypsy said 7 years ago

    Another interesting link to this topic is the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project currently at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. An interesting and relevant way to link craft, science, and conservation awareness :)

  • Morado

    Morado said 7 years ago

    Corals are exquisite! I sign the pledge too :o)

  • flabbergastbanana

    flabbergastbanana said 7 years ago

    Coral is so pretty, the color as well as the underwater creature... if someone wants coral they should just make sure it's vintage I guess. oh yeah and Temple is super purdy. gonna go sign that pledge now!

  • seaurchin

    seaurchin said 7 years ago

    Just had to find a link to that craftgypsy! :) http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a3/Crochet_hyperbolic_kelp.jpg&imgrefurl=http://mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/%3Fpa%3DmathNews%26sa%3Dview%26newsId%3D925&usg=__eQRXdGO6u-IY_InLsHapQ2Adg7g=&h=1200&w=1600&sz=375&hl=en&start=15&sig2=evAcOIonPbg2I07ovbp6Yg&zoom=1&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=4ofVmf4Y1nEedM:&tbnh=113&tbnw=150&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dhyperbolic%2Bcrochet%2Bcoral%2Breef%2Bsmithsonian%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26biw%3D1259%26bih%3D585%26tbs%3Disch:1&ei=S6-4TM89gc2MB9G6kMcO

  • girltuesdayjewelry

    girltuesdayjewelry said 7 years ago

    Count me in! Thanks for raising awareness about coral and it's preservation.

  • birdie1

    birdie1 said 7 years ago

    Great information ~ thank you! Coral is such a lovely color.

  • rachelungerjewelry

    rachelungerjewelry said 7 years ago

    Thank you for the information, I will definitely re-think the use of coral from now on!

  • AmberHeartOfTheFinch

    AmberHeartOfTheFinch said 7 years ago

    I'm so pleased that this has been addressed on such a massive platform. Be great to see one on the effects of mining in the amazon and western africa..all for our love of semi precious stones.

  • Radness

    Radness said 7 years ago

    Coral is a beautiful living organism. Lets keep it alive!

  • BeadingonaBudget

    BeadingonaBudget said 7 years ago

    Great info,this is a thought that always comes to mind when I make a purchase.I have yet to buy Coral for some of the same reasons mentioned.Thanks

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy said 7 years ago

    ... looked into this further. the only legit source of coral for jewelry making: u.s. black coral harvested for jewelry is the only the only legitimate and sustainable source for coral. Its the only coral that can be harvested in the u.s., requires a license, and numbers you can harvest are highly limited. everything else is imported and unregulated. in regards to wild harvested coral, jewelry coral is mostly deep sea coral, whereas the coral reefs (shallow) are harvested for aquariums. aquarium coral (shallow water) there's a vibrant coral farming industry that focuses on shallow water corals for the aquarium business... and it's been successful in staving off the wild harvesting. jewelry coral (deep sea) deep water coral, used in jewelry making and for medicine, doesn't have much of a farming infrastructure, though it is starting. they grow extremely slow. i pulled a lot of the info. from this link i found via google. it also has links to other great educational sites: http://www.softflexcompany.com/WSWrapper.jsp?mypage=spotlightarticle_Oct09.html

  • acrowdofstars

    acrowdofstars said 7 years ago

    oh man now i feel bad. i have a strand of red coral that i've been using to make things. i feel like i should not use the rest of it. on the other hand, it's not like i can put it back into the sea.... sorry, environment :[

  • rowenamurillo

    rowenamurillo said 7 years ago

    What a great article. Thanks for the information and the inspiration. Now I want to make a coral necklace out of felt. I have no idea how I might do that.

  • amysfunkyfibers

    amysfunkyfibers said 7 years ago

    We have a wonderful crocheted Coral exhibit at the Indiana State Museum...it is beautiful!

  • leannbutler

    leannbutler said 7 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this! I never thought about coral as an organism, but it truly is and you have opened my eyes to that. Someone else mentioned the use of bird feathers in jewelry and accessories. I too have wondered about the source and would love to know more about that. I've always been hesitant to buy anything with feathers for not knowing if birds were harmed...

  • OceanBoundExports

    OceanBoundExports said 7 years ago

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This definitely needed to be said. My heart sinks when I think about the extent to which we exploit the world, all biomes included. The ocean is my life, it's been very near and dear to me since I was a baby. It's unconscionable to kill another living thing to make something like jewelry, which isn't even necessary to survive. I can't put into words how much that upsets me.

  • thecottagemarket

    thecottagemarket said 7 years ago

    wonderful article! very much appreciated on many levels. the thought process of where something comes from is a very important one and many times overlooked and it is heartwarming for you to touch on a very crucial subject matter. let mother nature create the real thing for us to marvel at and enjoy and artists can replicate with tons of originality and mediums. calloohcallay -- i soooooo agree with you -- i cringe also when i see the seahorse and real star fish -- also cringe when looking at the taxidermy because i don't know what situations brought the animal to that end if you understand what i am saying. cheers to this article and what it is trying to show us and teach us...kudos and thank you so much.

  • beautifulearthgrl

    beautifulearthgrl said 7 years ago

    We should learn to appreciate all living things. Our earth is beautiful minus human pollution.

  • 2TrickPony

    2TrickPony said 7 years ago

    They can bring more awareness to the cause by asking about materials ************ I so agree with this. ask suppliers where things come from! I actually stopped using coral years ago, and substitute pink opal for that color. Of course, ethically mined:) thanks so much for the article

  • VeronicaRStudio

    VeronicaRStudio said 7 years ago

    Thank you so much for this great article. It is so sad to see a living creature get near extintion because we want to look pretty. I pledge to say no to coral from now on! I admire Ms. St. Clair for her determination and wonderful jewelry! She is an inspiration to me.

  • Jusadreamin

    Jusadreamin said 7 years ago

    BEAUTIFUL Thanks

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 7 years ago

    Great article, I'd hate to think we'd loose coral but there are other contributing factors to the loss of coral including carbon emissions and calcification of coral beds. Really sad.

  • Woojoo

    Woojoo said 7 years ago

    I agree. And it's important to note that fossil coral is NOT harvested from live coral sources, or even from the ocean. Fossil coral is mined from land that was under the ocean millions of years ago. The minerals that made it coral have been replaced over eons; it has become an agate that retains the beautiful coral patterns.

  • chantalmarieliving

    chantalmarieliving said 7 years ago

    I believe that we should not use any live animal for art and for our own use. Whether it be coral, alligators (for keychains), butterflies or seashells. I collect my seashells on the beach because most shells purchased are collected live and the mollusk is killed to use only the shell. My shells are not perfect but that's what make them so unique. Thank you for this thought provoking article.

  • positiveflow

    positiveflow said 7 years ago

    On my recent visit to San Diego Ca I saw alot of coral for sale in many shops and though it is beautiful I would not buy it. I too pick things up off the beach including coral when it is there and dead. Great article!

  • ravensrealm

    ravensrealm said 7 years ago

    Great article and excellent for raising awareness of an important issue. What comes next? We need some sort of mechanism to track origin and harvest practices. And to think I just bought a lovely vintage coral necklace...

  • AlissaRose

    AlissaRose said 7 years ago

    Wow Temple, thank you for sharing this. I'll be sticking to fossilized coral, my favorite!

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom said 7 years ago

    Great article!

  • WoolnFelt

    WoolnFelt said 7 years ago

    right on right on right on right on~!!!!!!!!

  • dollfacechumpinc

    dollfacechumpinc said 7 years ago

    Check out Eric Sala's TED speech - amazing statistics for the ocean!

  • ElvenWreathsJewelry

    ElvenWreathsJewelry said 7 years ago

    ocean life....a neat world most of us know little about! Thanks for sharing your story!

  • lunaessence

    lunaessence said 7 years ago

    It is time to stop and question everything ! I always wondered about coral thanks !

  • blindwolfspirit

    blindwolfspirit said 7 years ago

    Thank you for your very important article.

  • berryisland

    berryisland said 7 years ago

    Thank you...it should inspire, and look but don't take.

  • blindwolfspirit

    blindwolfspirit said 7 years ago

    Thank you for your great article, and for reminding me to be careful what I buy and use.

  • AlpineGypsy

    AlpineGypsy said 7 years ago

    Thank you Temple. I'm going to have to re-think a few of my materials, I see. I do not want to be part of the problem! You are right, coral is such a precious thing on so many levels. And so gorgeous.... This article has made me think. Heidi

  • beauty4ugreenleaf

    beauty4ugreenleaf said 7 years ago

    Coral as jewelry is indeed incredibly beautiful, but it's much more beautiful when it's alive and in the sea! Thanks for the reminder to be mindful of what elements we purchase for our creations

  • kristincoffin

    kristincoffin said 7 years ago

    Yay, great article. I wish there were more like this on Etsy. "The same goes for gold; more and more gold on the marketplace these days is recycled metal" --->True on some accounts, but as a whole most people still have no idea the devastation that gold mining is wreaking on the environment and societies. I feel like we've barely, barely, only ever-so-slightly touched the tip of the iceberg on that issue. I do agree that diamonds are pretty much across the board only sourced conflict-free now. I just hope people don't just skip from cause to cause, whilst never diving deep (pun on coral!) enough to help resolve or mend anything. We can't forget about dirty gold just because something else comes along. We've barely even started on it. I mean, talk about pure waste going straight into our oceans and killing ecosystems. And the wreckage/scars on the earth from mining can even be seen from outer space! Eeek. We've done a lot of things we shouldn't be proud of, but we can still start somewhere in trying to mend our ways. Again, good article, Temple.

  • lucky0girl0racer

    lucky0girl0racer said 7 years ago

    Great article!

  • EarthAria

    EarthAria said 7 years ago

    Thank you so much for this article! I have been making jewelry for a long time and always wondered why there is so much coral on the market. I have always considered it an "off limits" material, just like someone might consider ivory. This is the first time I've seen anyone write about this subject, though, and I'm thrilled to know I'm not the only eccentric person out here thinking of these things! As beautiful as it is, I don't want anything to do with it being in my jewelry - I prefer that it keep its beauty in the water where it belongs!

  • amandarinduck

    amandarinduck said 7 years ago

    I also do many different things from corals. THey are so gorgeous!

  • ourfrontyard

    ourfrontyard said 7 years ago

    Thanks so much! Depicting Coral in Designs is the way to go...not using it to make designs. I won't be using it.

  • SweetBabyJanesShop

    SweetBabyJanesShop said 7 years ago

    Thank you Temple! This is a great reminder not only for jewelry designers but for customers as well.

  • ArtisanaDesigns

    ArtisanaDesigns said 7 years ago

    Thanks for bringing light to this issue. I use coral in my jewelry but it's all coral that I find on the beaches which has washed up on shore naturally and is already dead.

  • DesignsByDevlin

    DesignsByDevlin said 7 years ago

    I make jewelry and I'm very into beads. I have always thought the coral beads are very beautiful, but I just could never bring myself to buy them because I knew they were made from living creatures. I'm really glad that there are other people that think about these thing as well.

  • MadelineAndMe

    MadelineAndMe said 7 years ago

    Goodness! I did not know all of this. I won't buy coral again either.

  • DesignsByDevlin

    DesignsByDevlin said 7 years ago

    I make jewelry and I'm very into beads. I have always thought the coral beads are very beautiful, but I just could never bring myself to buy them because I knew they were made from living creatures. I'm really glad that there are other people that think about these thing as well.

  • HippieChickie

    HippieChickie said 7 years ago

    I hope I can express my sincere gratitude accurately enough for you writing this article and providing us with the pledge page too. For years, since high school, I've thought more and more about every single thing I buy, and coral (being my favorite color) was one of the things that started it. To me, personally, it's up there with coal strip mining and paving floors with mountain tops, like EarthAria said, like Ivory. And it tears at my soul to see a woman wearing pieces of such a crucial and dying species around her neck, as stunning as it may be. It is a sad, sad fact that nearly every species that the human race finds desirable ends up facing either extinction or slavery and inbreeding if it can be 'farmed'. Butterflies, beetles and 1000's more insects for framing in our houses, whales for (lipstick in the past) and Sea World attractions, tigers and elephants for the circus, inbred bulldogs for 'companionship', fish for Walmart pet stores, birds in cages, livestock, oysters for pearls, 400-yr old mollusc's for shell and mother of pearl, redwood for decks and mulch, wolves, bears and foxes for their pelts, bones, teeth and claws and I won't even go into coal, stones and mountains. I have a binder full of ideas on substitute jewelry materials that are sustainable/recycled/cruelty-free/free-trade/ethically mined etc. and I hope you know just, just how refreshing it is to meet another human being out there who thinks. Who buys like she gives a damn, and cares about where or what or who things come from! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for spreading awareness. Sincerely, LaurenAnn

  • HippieChickie

    HippieChickie said 7 years ago

    I hope I can express my sincere gratitude accurately enough for you writing this article and providing us with the pledge page too. For years, since high school, I've thought more and more about every single thing I buy, and coral (being my favorite color) was one of the things that started it. To me, personally, it's up there with coal strip mining and paving floors with mountain tops, like EarthAria said, like Ivory. And it tears at my soul to see a woman wearing pieces of such a crucial and dying species around her neck, as stunning as it may be. It is a sad, sad fact that nearly every species that the human race finds desirable ends up facing either extinction or slavery and inbreeding if it can be 'farmed'. Butterflies, beetles and 1000's more insects for framing in our houses, whales for (lipstick in the past) and Sea World attractions, tigers and elephants for the circus, inbred bulldogs for 'companionship', fish for Walmart pet stores, birds in cages, livestock, oysters for pearls, 400-yr old mollusc's for shell and mother of pearl, redwood for decks and mulch, wolves, bears and foxes for their pelts, bones, teeth and claws and I won't even go into coal, stones and mountains. I have a binder full of ideas on substitute jewelry materials that are sustainable/recycled/cruelty-free/free-trade/ethically mined etc. and I hope you know how refreshing it is to meet another human being out there who thinks. Who buys like she gives a damn, cares about where or what or who things come from. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for spreading awareness. Sincerely, LaurenAnn

  • jadjusjewelry

    jadjusjewelry said 7 years ago

    Love the findings and color combination.

  • AvianInspirations

    AvianInspirations said 7 years ago

    Thank you for speaking out about this. For all that I love the rich red of coral in Southwestern jewelry, I refuse to buy it out of love of the creatures I see in the ocean. It sounds cheesy, but I guarantee that even if you just scuba once, you'll never want to wear coral again.

  • natenewton

    natenewton said 7 years ago

    The sponge, an amazing filter also shouldn't be forgotten.

  • prettystardesigns

    prettystardesigns said 7 years ago

    Good article! Love the coral items at the end

  • emilysuzanne

    emilysuzanne said 7 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this! I too love coral jewelry, and am working on a OOAK jewelry line with pieces of dead coral that I found on the shore of a small island off Belize, and I feel that it shouldn't be wrongfully harvested! This is why after I finish off the small pieces I collected, I will NOT be buying any. Happy crafting!

  • dkshopgirl

    dkshopgirl said 7 years ago

    Good article. I live in Queensland, Australia and also used to scuba dive a lot! The reef is really magnificent and needs to be preserved. Thank you.

  • gabie37

    gabie37 said 7 years ago

    As a marine biologist, I thank you for this article.

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 7 years ago

    The key word here is SUSTAINABLE & we should all think carefully before purchasing almost anything. I cringe every time I see things advertised as "wild harvested" as it really just means that someone's raped one of the few remaining unspoilt wilderness areas simply to line their pockets. Nothing should be collected from the natural environment, not stones, moss, plants, insects, seeds, coral, starfish, shells (most of the decorative shells you see for sale were harvested while they still had living animals inside them) Taking anything interferes with the ecosystem & puts it under further stress. It becomes a whole lot less desirable to have these things in your home once you realise the damage being done to collect them. And in case you're wondering, probably 90% of the wood I use comes from my garden, not the countryside, & the rest comes from the gardens of my friends.

  • PaperPicker

    PaperPicker said 7 years ago

    thanks for making us aware of how precious coral is to our earth - we need to hear more about these issues.

  • jilldredge

    jilldredge said 7 years ago

    Thank you for this article. Coral is something I have never heard about being "mined" from the ocean. I have a beautiful necklace and earrings, but will not buy coral again. I hope we wake up and save our earth and it's ecosystems.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 7 years ago

    Thanks for this article! I hope more people become aware of our natural resources.

  • Serrelynda

    Serrelynda said 7 years ago

    Very enlightening, thank you.

  • SimplyLeap

    SimplyLeap said 7 years ago

    Thank you for this, coral is so incredibly beautiful and has been popping up on Etsy as a trend lately. It bothered me every time I saw it, real or simply painted on a pillow. I would love it if even people using the image of coral would insert a little reminder that the reason they DON'T use the real thing is because it is so precious and endangered. Then I would feel like buying was guilt-free!

  • OneClayBead

    OneClayBead said 7 years ago

    I enjoyed this article and would like to see more articles about conscious consumerism on Etsy. It made me aware of coral's vital role in the ecosystem of the sea.

  • TigerLiliGems

    TigerLiliGems said 7 years ago

    thank you for this, it was very helpful. I've been wondering weather it is ok to use coral in my jewelry buisness, because something about it seemed... fishy... now that I know how they get the corals I will never use it making jewelry. thanks!

  • irenebeadsandbaubles

    irenebeadsandbaubles said 7 years ago

    I was somewhat aware of the coral problem, but my understanding was that the coral sold for jewelry was already dead and was dyed in different colours to be sold specifically for jewelry. Now that I understand a little more about coral, I will not buy it again, knowing the coral is in so much danger. Thanks for the great article!

  • cadreams

    cadreams said 7 years ago

    Excellent and disturbing article. I love all things to do with the ocean! I don't scuba but I do snorkel and the beauty of all underwater creatures is awesome! It's been on my conscience all day-I never thought about how coral is harvested. 2 of my jewelry pieces here on etsy have coral-I have pulled them and will re-design, as I can't say for certain that the coral was sustainably harvested. Thanks for helping me to think twice about the natural products I use!

  • IoncikDesign

    IoncikDesign said 7 years ago

    Thank you for opening my eyes! Coral is so beautiful...and I did not ever until now thought that it is practicaly killed to be worn by us.... :( I shared the article on my FB so more could learn from it! Thanks again! An excelent idea

  • jungledread

    jungledread said 7 years ago

    Wow, even though I realize how precious coral is, I've never thought of the ethical issues around coral jewelry. Thanks for the heads up & education!

  • SchneiderGallery

    SchneiderGallery said 7 years ago

    YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO MUCH MORE DRASTIC PROBLEM!!! ANIMALS SKINNED ALIVE IN CHINA - WE MUST HELP TO STOP THIS!! There's a link to site where you can watch VERY drasting and shocking movie... http://animalsaviors.org/

  • moonandlion

    moonandlion said 7 years ago

    Thanks for the insightful article. This is what my windsurfer, sea-loving boyfriend has said to me on many occasions. I think we can all live with some fake coral, no need to endanger yet another species. Thanks for the wonderful coral items, it's a color I love and use a lot in my artwork too!

  • nowonder

    nowonder said 7 years ago

    Very interesting! I didn't know that these animals are threatened! Thank you for bringig this to our attention. I think it is also importarnt for customers to know.

  • SchneiderGallery

    SchneiderGallery said 7 years ago

    I found some information about BAMBOO CORAL Bamboo Coral is one type of sea coral, named such because of its bamboo-like appearance, not because it is made from bamboo. It is a type of Coral the grows fast in shallow sea.The difference between bamboo coral and deep sea coral, which is much slower growing is hard to detect. Bamboo Coral is as close to deep sea color coral you can buy without endangering the environment. Natural Red Colored Deep sea coral is an Endangered Species and it is not legal for mining anymore. Red Bamboo Coral has been stabilized or dyed. On the semi-gem market 99.9% of Corals available are some type of Bamboo Coral. Bamboo corals are a group of flexible corals that have endoskeletons that consist of alternating white calcitic internodes and brownish to black nodes of keratin (gorgonin). At lease four genera of bamboo corals have been identified. These corals belong to the Family Isididae of the Order Alcyonacea within the Subclass Alcyonaria (Octocorallia) . Isidids are octocorals, meaning they have eight pinnate tentacles on each polyp that can be either retractile (can be drawn in) or non-retractile. The bony calcareous internodes of their skeleton, which are composed of fused sclerites, are interspersed with proteinaceous gorgonin (nodes) that are not composed of fused sclerites. This structure gives the skeletal remains of the organism an eerie fingerlike appearance.

  • birchbeerboutique

    birchbeerboutique said 7 years ago

    former colleagues of mine, brazilian ex-patriots, enlightened me with horrifying stories of the common practice of coral harvesting for trade using dynamite, which is obviously damaging beyonnd repair for such a fragile ecosystem. according to jean-michelle cousteau, usage of dynamite is a common harvesting practice in india (lecture, green living conference, vancouver, 2008). i have sourced a small collection of quarried coral fossil for jewelry making but don't plan to buy any more. thanks for this article and the link to the pledge. the amount of coral and coral reef animals floating around the marketplace (no pun intended) is disheartening.

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom said 7 years ago

    Ivory as well as some others should also be on that list!

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 7 years ago

    Who knew? Thanks for the article.

  • SheepishYarns

    SheepishYarns said 7 years ago

    I completely agree with article, I've always loved the look and colour of coral, but have always refused to buy it because as a biology student I understand how endangered coral is, not just due to farming but also the many changes hapenning to the delicate balance of the planets marine habitats. Coral takes so long to grow that harvesting it is never going to be a sustanable option, and can only be seen as unethical. such a vital and fagile thing should be treasured and protected in its natual state.

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 said 7 years ago

    Thank you Temple and Mclovebuddy for both this article and comment. I was under the impression, quite a few years ago, that buying/selling in coral was illegal excepting antique coral jewelry. Would like more clarification. Healthy coral is an essential element in viable aquatic ecosystems. Dead coral means no fish & other organisms.

  • sherrytruitt

    sherrytruitt said 7 years ago

    Thank you so much for the information. As jewelry designers we are often faced with environmental and human concerns when choosing materials for our work. I would never wear or use diamonds. I try as much as possible to use reclaimed silver, as silver mining has a devistating impact on both the land and the mine workers. Sherry

  • MixedMurmurs

    MixedMurmurs said 7 years ago

    It's always a shock to me that people will just consume and consume without bothering to think where something comes from... Sad.

  • sparrowsalvage

    sparrowsalvage said 7 years ago

    I've long known about coral and it's harvest issues, I've made sure in every design in my shop that any coral I use is thrifted and vintage. Once you start though, almost everything is problematic. I started scrutinising every listing I intended to purchase- suddenly things weren't just pretty any more, they were strip mined, slave/child labour, exploited species, endangered timbers, toxic dyes etc. In my supply shop I sell ethically harvested crystal which I buy from a man who goes to private properties, digs a small pit, fills a bucket then covers the pit and goes home. He only sells enough of it to fund his next project. All the stones (and most everything else) for my work are reclaimed or- if I have to buy new- I search for destash. (By which I mean stuff people are getting rid of, not suppliers stock that's reduced.) My art is just as much politics as pretty trinkets.

  • melissamanley

    melissamanley said 7 years ago

    In 2007 I brought this campaign up in a forum to try to bring attention to the subject. There was argument then for continuing to use and sell it. I was in a shop in Washington state and discussed this very thing with the shop keeper. I was buying coral colored glass and casually mentioned why. She told me that, "All our coral is grown in farms in Asia" I told her I thought that was probably erroneous and even sounded a bit ludicrous even because coral is so slow growing. She told me "oh, ours if very fast growing coral".

  • scentbythesea

    scentbythesea said 7 years ago

    Remember the trapped Chilean miners? Guess what they were mining? Gold and copper. For jewelry, at least in part. Is it worth it?

  • thecyclingartist

    thecyclingartist said 7 years ago

    Thanks SO much for this article! The issue isn't just about ocean life. It's known that the coral reefs are a large part of the CO2 circulation system - water and air exchange - and as they die (and aren't replaced) it makes global warming worse. Coral is vital to the entire biosphere and should be protected. Using and selling certain corals is illegal in some places, so the source should be researched.

  • michaelangela

    michaelangela said 7 years ago

    Count me in! I love articles like this that make me aware and informed!

  • melissamoloney

    melissamoloney said 7 years ago

    Thank you for the very valuable information about Too Precious To Wear. I am signing the pledge now. As a scuba diver of 20 years, I've seen first-hand the destruction of our planet's coral reefs at the hands of careless people.

  • skeptis

    skeptis said 7 years ago

    There is an abundance of vintage coral out there ready to be used! Instead of not using coral at all I believe using ethical sources of coral is a great way to spread the word about the endangered status of these creatures. I always clearly state that the coral I use is genuine vintage and that it is purposely for the sake of protecting the critically endangered red and pink corals. Also FYI:; red/precious coral used to have international protection banning it's collection but this was OVERTURNED in 2007. It's up to us now!

  • camanobeadworks

    camanobeadworks said 7 years ago

    Well, there you have it. I'll pull the few things I'm selling that do have coral and stop buying it. I'm glad to know the US black coral is farmed, but, even, then if I'm thinking about buying it, I'll discover the source first.

  • VioletsNewVintage

    VioletsNewVintage said 7 years ago

    Thank you for raising awareness on this important issue. I signed the and hope others will to.

  • helenapuck

    helenapuck said 7 years ago

    I love that you are encouraging a celebration of coral in jewelry without using the real coral. Thanks for discussing an important issue.

  • paperandprint

    paperandprint said 7 years ago

    While I completely agree with the author's point about using only sustainable materials in our products, I also think this article is TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE for The Storque. As an etsy seller, there are clear rules I have to follow. One of them is not "calling out" other etsy sellers in a way that will hurt their business. And yet this etsy-sanctioned article is clearly "calling out" every etsy seller who uses coral in her/his items and will clearly hurt their business. Some sellers who use coral in their products have already received nasty convos as a result of this article. And etsy itself makes money from sellers who do use coral in their items. If etsy wishes to push a "sustainable material" agenda (and perhaps they should), then they should make it a company-wide policy of not allowing non-sustainable materials on the site. Had this information come up in an etsy forum thread, it would have been quickly locked as inappropriate for calling out. The other point I object to is that Temple St. Clair, who is not an etsy seller, is allowed to link to an off-etsy website where she sells her jewelry, while etsy sellers are not allowed to do the same. It would be a clear breach of etsy's TOU. As informative as this article is, by publishing it in The Storque, etsy is being highly hypocritical, and this is a disturbing thing.

  • SecretLentil

    SecretLentil said 7 years ago

    Holy conflict of interests Batman! You let a guest blogger list to her off-etsy website at the same time she's asking people here to take a pledge against buying from people who ARE etsy sellers. Does this blog have any editorial guidelines? The day you spoke out about my work (and asked people to take action against it) would be my last day selling here. Do you even think about these things? Way to treat your customers etsy.

  • archaicdesign

    archaicdesign said 7 years ago

    excuse me? but the guest blogger has a direct link to her jewelry that uses mined gold and gemstones? she needs to take a look at what HER jewelry business is doing to the environment before etsy allows her to call out jewelry designer here on etsy. incredible etsy, you've outdone yourself, thanks.

  • SecretLentil

    SecretLentil said 7 years ago

    For the record I only work with sustainable materials, and my comment has nothing to do with the author or the issue, it is with editorial policies.

  • seababejewelry

    seababejewelry said 7 years ago

    This reminds me of the butterfly wing issues from a while back.

  • OhFaro

    OhFaro said 7 years ago

    Excellent article and very informative. However, the conflict of interest with your sellers and the uneven way the Terms of the site are handled with regards to calling out others and off-site linking, is really quite alarming.

  • jewelrybyjackie

    jewelrybyjackie said 7 years ago

    Thanks to Temple St. Clair for this informative and thought provoking piece. I will never look at coral the same again.

  • PucksWildApothecary

    PucksWildApothecary said 7 years ago

    Great article!

  • eclipse

    eclipse said 7 years ago

    I agree with the article personally, I don't like to wear materials which are rare or endangered. That is ym PERSONAL choice, just as it's my personal choice not to eat meat, but I don't lecture others about what they eat. BUT... I know that if some user had posted an anti-coral thread in the forums, telling people NOT TO BUY items made with coral, that thread would have been locked. Because sellers on Etsy sell items made from coral, it is easy to find the sellers that have it, (identifiable hint). Coral is legal, and it's against the forum rules to "call out" or speak about any seller's items in a "less than flattering way". (Direct quote from admins) So why is the Storque doing something that we would be punished for doing in the forums? Why are you undermining the business of your own sellers who are obeying the law, and telling people not to buy their items?

  • TinsAndThings

    TinsAndThings said 7 years ago

    As a vegan I'm always encouraged when I see articles that examine the ethics of what we buy or consume, but yeah, I agree with previous comments that Etsy seems to be employing a double standard here when it comes to site rules.

  • TheWinglessBird

    TheWinglessBird said 7 years ago

    Lovely article, thank you!

  • andrea0503

    andrea0503 said 7 years ago

    Tha article is great, and I think it's nice to be reminded now and then that we're not the only living beings on this earth!

  • Hagarae

    Hagarae said 7 years ago

    What a great initiative! Thank you so much for sharing this information!

  • ArtsyFartz

    ArtsyFartz said 7 years ago

    Thank you...if there are more information on other gemstones and how they are mined and where and what ecosystems they effect as well would be wonderful....but for the artist who love coral, what do we do with the supplies we already have? What about the corals that are cultivated by the artist? the corals that has lost it's way and have been stranded on the sand? Are these OK?

  • bluebeeinatree

    bluebeeinatree said 7 years ago

    I agree wholeheartedly.....BUT...... ....I'm still going to buy sustainable jewelry designs from sellers who maintain their shops here within the Etsy community.

  • CraftsByBabz

    CraftsByBabz said 7 years ago

    Fascinating!! Thank you for sharing!! ~CraftsbyBabz http://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftsByBabz

  • MJ42

    MJ42 said 7 years ago

    I also have seen the destruction of the coral reefs firsthand. It is quite horrible. Please be smart in what you buy and support! Thank you for this. <3 MJ42

  • hartleystudio

    hartleystudio said 7 years ago

    Seriously? What's next? If we let Etsy tell us what is moral and what's not we are ALL in hot water. So all sellers who make coral jewelry should be shunned here on Etsy? Not to mention that she is linking to her shop OUTSIDE ETSY, not just here in the Storque but in her profile too. I see Ms. St.Clair just joined Etsy too. Nice. I always try to be understanding about Etsy's decisions and try to see things from their side but this time, I'm mad. This shows lack of good judgment on Admin's behalf. You guys really screwed it up big this time.

  • kittybblove

    kittybblove said 7 years ago

    Yes yes yes! I didn't even consider this, although I always known the importance of reef life (I was born and raised in Hawaii). Thanks for the article and shedding a light on this topic! I feel like a much more conscientious jewelry buyer now :D

  • WoolyBumblebee

    WoolyBumblebee said 7 years ago

    Waiting for someone to tell me wool is unethical... This is so not cool to put in Etsy's blog. This article basically says anyone who uses coral is somehow a bad person. Way to go Etsy... This is more than a call out. It will become a witch hunt now.

  • glasscoast

    glasscoast said 7 years ago

    Really? your store sells diamonds, which is okay, but coral isn't?

  • loopyboopy

    loopyboopy said 7 years ago

    This is just disturbing in so many ways. Big mishap etsy.

  • organikx

    organikx said 7 years ago

    WOW! How in any way has this article helped etsy, etsy jewelry designers and etsy buyers? This a a slam against all designers here on this site. What, none here good enough to write an article for the storque? Lets get some outside designer to come and write an article slamming a huge majority of etsy designers.... who by the way, do design and HANDCRAFT each and every one of their items in their shops. Apalling lack of thoughtfulness in putting this together and posting it right here on etsy!

  • DreamsandJewelry

    DreamsandJewelry said 7 years ago

    You're the designer which means you're outsourcing to have your products made. Can you guarantee that your jewelry is not assembled and fabricated in sweatshops? I feel if you're going to feature an article on how much concern that you have for coral, maybe you should look into how your own products are being manufactured. How do you even tie into the handmade movement?

  • Fynorrahs

    Fynorrahs said 7 years ago

    This whole thing should be removed from the Storque immediately! There is no justification for allowing it to remain. But before you do, how about "calling out" the admin that approved this for publication. Seems fair that since a whole group of sellers are being called out that we at least know who among admin hasn't read the ToU, or know that they apply to EVERYONE. Then make Temple clean up her shop so that she is in compliance with Etsy ToU!!!!

  • frankideas

    frankideas said 7 years ago

    I feel so conflicted now. I honestly hadn't been aware of the coral issue -I can't believe I'm so uninformed but this had genuinely passed me by. My problem is I have just purchased a huge mixed lot of gem stones and in amongst the stash is a lot of what I assume is coral. Some is vintage but a lot is almost definitely new. I now don't know whether I can start the new range of jewellery I had planned. If I do use the coral - and I honestly can't afford not to use it since it was a considerable outlay, I'm not sure I will be able to sell it on Etsy. Is this no coral stance now Etsy policy? I am also very disturbed about Etsy promoting other jewellery designers who are not part of the Etsy family. I am only a small cog in the wheel and realize I don't contribute much in the way of fees and sales percentages - but I would like to think that Etsy was supporting me and not an outside, obviously successful designer - who in actual fact is in competition with all the jewellery shops on Etsy

  • 2007musarra

    2007musarra said 7 years ago

    Very interesting, reclaim reuse and recyle. That is the motto of my store. Vintage is not only already there for the taking but it removes so many harmful and cheap items that people would wear from other countries that do not have the restrictions that we have in the USA. I see a big trend in buy American and I think that buyers and sellers alike need to take this into account and mark then items in their stores as such. Someone on etsy, who has a list of cruelty free products should sell it so we can all understand more about how to acquire the best items for the environment that we can, nd tips non wht to look for.

  • frankideas

    frankideas said 7 years ago

    Sorry I didn't notice that Temple St Clair had a buyer's account on Etsy. So she is part of the family. I have a buyers account too - I notice its OK for us to advertise our outside business via those accounts - I always thought that was against the rules. I'll amend the information in my buyers account immediately - Yippee free advertising!

  • FloweryDeer

    FloweryDeer said 7 years ago

    Beautiful! Great read!

  • DimmalimmHome

    DimmalimmHome said 7 years ago

    Great article, Im very much in favor of raising awareness of these things wherever possible. I just wanted to bring it up that its not against the tou to link to your website if you do not sell the same products on your site as in your etsy shop. And as far as I know its not against the tou at all if youre not a seller.

  • AnodynePress

    AnodynePress said 7 years ago

    While I think it's helpful to let people know that coral is endangered and a critical part of the world's ecosystem, I cannot imagine what qualifies an outsider with a jewelry store that sells DIAMONDS to come here with an article like this. And gold too, while we're on the subject. At current time, short of going out and mining your own diamonds, or locating old vintage diamonds, there is no such thing as a conflict-free diamond, and no way of ascertaining conflict-free claims, due to the way the diamond market is run. Even vintage diamonds have ethical issues attached to them, thanks to a long history of western colonialism. Wasn't there a better way to get this particular piece of information out here, Etsy? Like a solid fact about what is genuinely illegal to sell vis-a-vis coral? Some of it is, after all. Wasn't there a way of showing how people are responsibly using coral, of the vintage types, and letting everyone know you should distinguish between the two instead of painting every seller and wearer of coral with the same brush? This was utterly unhelpful and divisive.

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 7 years ago

    The message is an important one, and dear to my heart, but it got lost in the delivery.

  • rtisan

    rtisan said 7 years ago

    This guest blogger is allowed to post a link to her off etsy jewelry selling website?? We sellers are not allowed to this. Why is she. Also, this is going to cause a coral "boycott" from any etsy jewelry maker who uses coral in their designs. I, myself, have a bamboo coral and bracelet listed in my shop. It etsy WANTS to make coral an item "not allowed" on etsy then DO IT! But don't allow it and then have articles and guest bloggers like these. It JUST isn't right. I will not be buying any coral in the future. I care about any species on the endangered list. I bought my coral years ago before there was such a thing.

  • rtisan

    rtisan said 7 years ago

    Why would it be within the TOU for a buyer to drop links? That doesn't sound right at all.

  • LittleBatch

    LittleBatch said 7 years ago

    St. Clair says, "In my upcoming spring collection I’ll be creating shapes of coral in gold, sapphires and diamonds." This is like someone saying, "I'm a vegetarian but I love to wear leather." I am thoroughly unimpressed.

  • saburkitty

    saburkitty said 7 years ago

    Poor Form. This is sad. It could have been a great blog entry on the issue, but is flawed in so many ways.

  • rtisan

    rtisan said 7 years ago

    Thge guest blogger use diamonds in her jewelry. Are they "conflict free" diamonds?

  • SunnyDayVintage

    SunnyDayVintage said 7 years ago

    Etsy, you have severely blown it with this one. WHAT were you thinking? Or were you thinking at all? Who the hell green-lights these articles?

  • AeridesDesigns

    AeridesDesigns said 7 years ago

    Apparently Etsy couldn't find any actual Etsy Jewelry designers to interview, and bent their own TOU to publish and link to an off-site seller? Regardless of the opinion stated, it's validity or not, there are so many talented, amazing artists here to feature .... and yet.....oh such a waste of an opportunity...for shame.

  • HazelLily

    HazelLily said 7 years ago

    Thank you. I think it is always a postive action when people educate themselves about the social & environmental costs of various materials and products. It allows one to make a more enlightened decision. If someone discusses the facts about a material, and you become irritated that they are making you look or feel like a bad person for using this material...that is YOUR issue. If you are okay with using coral or gold or diamonds or whatever, then do so, but just as with elephant ivory, it may stop selling. We should always work to be better. Not using coral, while still using diamonds is NOT hypocrisy. It just means you're working on being a more responsible person. People love to point out what they perceive as hypocrisy - "Coral's bad? Hey, you sell diamonds! Haha!" So what they are saying is unless you are 100% perfect, you have no business trying to be better? Ridiculous. No one is perfect, but we should still work towards being better people.

  • organikx

    organikx said 7 years ago

    Actually the etsy tou state that an account cannot be used just to drive traffic to an offsite website. I do think frankideas is on the money here with her questions.

  • HazelLily

    HazelLily said 7 years ago

    acrowdofstars says - oh man now i feel bad. i have a strand of red coral that i've been using to make things. i feel like i should not use the rest of it. on the other hand, it's not like i can put it back into the sea.... sorry, environment :[ *** You shouldn't feel bad if you weren't previously aware (although it definately shows your hearts in the right place). I think you could definately still use it. you can always let people know that it's the last coral you'll be selling, if you choose not to buy any more coral beads that is. I like your avatar! I'm off to browse your shop :)

  • artaltered

    artaltered said 7 years ago

    So, I guess if you have a "buyer" account you can link to your non-Etsy website? Really? Good to know! *head desk*

  • compassionmalas

    compassionmalas said 7 years ago

    I was advised that bamboo and sponge corals were more sustainable, so I've been using them in two items. I'll use up that batch and start using dyed "fossil beads". That should be better, more eco friendly. But no seller wants to intentionally aid to the destruction of coral reefs. It's a matter calling for education rather than asking buyers to sign a pledge!

  • NaughtyNaughty

    NaughtyNaughty said 7 years ago

    I never thought about coral being endangered. I don't own any coral and in the future I will only purchase imitation coral. Thank you so much for posting this. Rebecca

  • MieleMelograno

    MieleMelograno said 7 years ago

    So I guess we can link to our other ecommerce sites now;)

  • bellacruz

    bellacruz said 7 years ago

    As I read the article, my first thought was, does this artist make her own jewelry? Is is produced in third-world countries by child labor? As others have asked, are the diamonds and other materials mined safely and properly, giving care to the humans, the people involved in their harvest? I do detect a bit of superiority over the unwashed masses. The argument has been about ivory and fur. Now you will be black marked for selling coral. (Not that I want the earth's precious sources to be ravished). I am just surprised at what the message may be that etsy is sending..... against the many sellers who use coral since it is legal to do so, who abide by the TOUs and struggle to make their items themselves.

  • artaltered

    artaltered said 7 years ago

    Gemstones are mined, formed and drilled in foreign countries who have nearly no labor protections and often children are the laborers.

  • artaltered

    artaltered said 7 years ago

    http://cozay.com/CHILD-LABOR-IN-INDIA.php

  • bellacruz

    bellacruz said 7 years ago

    As someone else pointed out above...have we forgotten already about the chilean miners?

  • DreamsandJewelry

    DreamsandJewelry said 7 years ago

    Well said Bellacruz. This is exactly what I felt when I read the article, and went to her website.

  • artaltered

    artaltered said 7 years ago

    http://baltimorechronicle.com/2010/071110Lendman.shtml

  • BadJen

    BadJen said 7 years ago

    Why is this blogger allowed to have an account here with a direct link to her selling site, but other members here aren't? Etsy, you are such hypocrites.

  • artaltered

    artaltered said 7 years ago

    http://ihscslnews.org/view_article.php?id=162

  • SuperflyLullabies

    SuperflyLullabies said 7 years ago

    appreciate etsy bringing some attention to this issue. i do enjoy reading the storque. however also agree with a few of the sentiments expressed above, re etsy's own tou. ...and hoping all of said sellers still have shops on monday. did I just say that out loud? also, hoping I still have a shop on Monday.

  • BadJen

    BadJen said 7 years ago

    I don't wear coral, but this article is crapping on all the sellers here who do use coral. Bravo, Etsy.

  • byKEONA

    byKEONA said 7 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I have never own any coral jewelry and never will now.

  • aromaticbodyoils

    aromaticbodyoils said 7 years ago

    As a biologist I am very happy that this subject was introduced for discussion, although I do not agree with the source that it is coming from. Anthozoa (coral) come in many colors. I keep reading "I love the color of coral." Its not just pretty and pink. I guess it was just grating on my emotions. To me it shows how ignorant a lot of people might be about the animal. Some people don't know coral is an animal that has a rainbow of colors, much like many do not know Egypt is a country in Africa. It saddens me how the earth is being exploited daily for profit. When it will stop, will it ever stop? We have big business drilling away at our fossil fuel, diamond and gold industries raking in billions. Our earth is dieing and there is nothing we can do about it. Its sad but true. It took millions of years for the earth to become a paradise, yet only a few hundred for industry to rip it apart and set it on its course for destruction. Sadly, it is going to take millions of years to repair all the damage we have managed to do in such a short period of time. The only thing we can do in our own little lives is not do anything that adds more strain to the earth as we know it. I personally would not buy any coral from any source. How do we even know the source is a legitimate one? Companies will tell you what you want to hear to make a sale.

  • aromaticbodyoils

    aromaticbodyoils said 7 years ago

    Not sure why a person who does not make any of the jewelry is even allowed to be a guest blogger. And I don't think conflict free diamonds really exist.

  • loopyboopy

    loopyboopy said 7 years ago

    From Etsy TOU's •An Etsy account may not be used for the purpose of redirecting traffic to another web location. This includes shops in Vacation Mode. Please contact Support to have your account closed if you are no longer using it.

  • EclecticOrnaments

    EclecticOrnaments said 7 years ago

    Bad Jen, I sell coral Jewelry and I am very happy to learn about this article. Had I known how detremental the harvest of coral for jewelry was, I would never have used it to begin with! As a marine aquarium hobbiest, I have always been concious of where the animals I purchase came from, and that they were ORA certified. I love the ocean and its creatures with all my heart, and I would like to be responsible for as little of its distruction as possible. Thank you Temple StClair for the informative article, I have signed the pledge, and will make it a point to inform everyone I can about avoiding coral in jewelry.

  • Soov

    Soov said 7 years ago

    From http://www.luxist.com/2009/12/08/an-interview-with-luxe-jewelry-designer-temple-st-clair/ Your collections feature a lot of really unusual stones. How do you source materials and pick different stones? I've become known for my use of really beautiful and unusual color and fine gemstones. I do use a lot of different colors of sapphires. I do use a lot of different aquamarine and tourmaline and really rare pieces, which really are quite difficult to work with, because sometimes I can only get one stone of a certain kind. So that very much differentiates what I do from a usually jewelry manufacturer that might be making everything in colored quartz for example, where you can get all you want. So the sources for these materials are widely distributed around the world. I work with cutters in Germany. I work with Indians. I work with Australians. I have people bringing stuff out of Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is particularly difficult these days, as you could imagine. I work with really beautiful tourmaline coming out of Mozambique, minerals coming out of Madagascar, just really, really interesting unusual material. One thing I always say is, it certainly doesn't make it easy when you're working on some new pieces, just sourcing materials is very, very difficult, but that's the way I like it. ********************************************************** What steps do you take to ensure the safety and fair wage for workers of the mines that supply your stones?

  • DesignedByLucinda

    DesignedByLucinda said 7 years ago

    As a small rebuttal: Most of the coral sold in pieces on Etsy tend to be either dyed white coral, sponge coral or bamboo coral (all harvested differently and in a less destructive manner than the *real* coral, which comes with a much higher price tag so not likely to be on Etsy "Our avg sale is $18" anyway). Or, the coral comes as a vintage piece or vintage beads reworked into modern items. And the items that *are* made with *real* (expensive) coral are *allowed* to be listed on Etsy with any of the other millions of Etsy-legal items. While it is nice to read about why coral can be problematic, it isn't nice to read this in an article that somehow suggests those of us who sell coral in any variety are unethical boneheads on the blog of the very venue we use to sell our coral goods. Will next week's guest blogger be someone discussing the mining of gemstones and how unethical gemstone jewelry makers are for using those beads? If so, can you drop me a line ahead of time so I know to bypass the article? Disappointed here. I hope this article is reworked a tad to not direct Etsy buyers away from purchasing Etsy-legal goods from Etsy-legal handmade sellers...

  • TheBeadSource

    TheBeadSource said 7 years ago

    thank-you Temple St. Clair for your blatant self-promotion and egregious blog posting

  • acrowdofstars

    acrowdofstars said 7 years ago

    HazelLily acrowdofstars says - oh man now i feel bad. i have a strand of red coral that i've been using to make things. i feel like i should not use the rest of it. on the other hand, it's not like i can put it back into the sea.... sorry, environment :[ *** You shouldn't feel bad if you weren't previously aware (although it definately shows your hearts in the right place). I think you could definately still use it. =================================== yeah i could use it, thing is, i am doubtful anyone will buy it, now that etsy has apparently convinced all these people not to.

  • glasscoast

    glasscoast said 7 years ago

    aromaticbodyoils: very well said! -- I'm still peeved this article exists. That it links to a site outside of etsy that sells diamonds and gold, thus encouraging mountain top removal and toxic lakes - yet has the audacity to ask etsy folks to sign a pledge to not buy coral? It is the responsibility of sellers to stand behind and investigate the products that they sell, and the responsibility of consumers to buy with their own set of morals. Letting the public know of your concerns with a living being that is endangered is a good thing, but when your article is featured on a wide scale, please make sure it is not blatantly hypocritical.

  • busterandboo

    busterandboo said 7 years ago

    wow just wow. sad all the way 'round.

  • seababejewelry

    seababejewelry said 7 years ago

    i love that word "egregious"

  • mermaids777

    mermaids777 said 7 years ago

    Go glasscoast! I too am very skeptical, especially of proponents of animal rights and extreme environmentalists that limit jobs and put animals above people. I also don't buy into the endangered coral theory because the earth is over 70% ocean! We are here to take care of the earth, but everything can be taken to extremes. There's such a big movement these days for people to jump on the "global warming" wagon, which was proven to be a big hoax perpetrated by those that want to tax everyone out of business. They encourage us to spend more to "go green" when they are flying all over in their personal jets to do so. Everything has to be carefully investigated and motives looked into before we just believe what is being advertised as truth.

  • cadreams

    cadreams said 7 years ago

    Wow!! Most all of these comments have added to my re-thinking the coral issue. In Future I will make a serious effort to be more informed on the components that I buy. Thanks to all-

  • BadJen

    BadJen said 7 years ago

    People *are* animals.

  • mermaids777

    mermaids777 said 7 years ago

    Go glasscoast, designedbylucinda,archaicdesign, schreidergallery & many more who stood up for the real issues here: designers being blacklisted. I too am very skeptical, especially of proponents of animal rights activists & those who put the livelihoods of people and their families below that of animals. Of course we are here to take care of the earth, but not to the extreme that these special interest groups take it to, with the ultimate goal of taxing companies out of business and getting rich off of lies! "Global Warming" has been clearly exposed as a hoax forced on us by those that are against capitalism and for socialism & communism. They love to preach about greenhouse gases while they fly in their privately owned jets to do so! The earth is over 70% water, so I'm not afraid of ever depleting our coral reserves. As schneidergallery put so very well, bamboo coral is what is mostly used, which is abundant. Please don't blindly believe everything you are told; investigate carefully what the motives are behind the so-called "issues". Shame on you Etsy for allowing this article.

  • artaltered

    artaltered said 7 years ago

    Climate change is not a hoax. *head desk*

  • underoakstudios

    underoakstudios said 7 years ago

    Ish. Come on etsy! This issue means a lot to me but the delivery is ridiculous! Have an article like this trying to get us to eat more cookies and I'll probably loose a few pounds. I only use bamboo coral btw. Better go adjust my tags.

  • underoakstudios

    underoakstudios said 7 years ago

    Oh jeeze. The vastly misinformed mermaids are here. You do know that coral doesn't grow in every part of the ocean right? That's like saying "I'm not worried that if I pluck all my eyebrows out I won't have any eyebrows because eyebrows grow out of skin and I'm covered in that!"

  • mermaids777

    mermaids777 said 7 years ago

    Eyebrows grow back, as does coral :)

  • LunasaDesigns

    LunasaDesigns said 7 years ago

    I agree mermaids777. Before everyone so readily jumps on the bandwagon of yet another "ethical, moral, GREEN" issue - please do the research for yourself. You should know what your own limits are - and know what you are comfortable (or not) in using in your work. I don't use diamonds in my work - but that is a personal choice and I have many friends that do use diamonds. I think they do lovely work and I know that they are concientious about where they get them. Coral has been an environmental issue for many, many years. This is nothing new... What is new, apparently is Etsy bending it's TOU's - for... what?? Etsy silversmiths are pretty much ignored when it comes to the "handmade weddings" series (aren't the rings important too?) and now we are pushed aside by an outside jewelry source. nice. I can say with all honesty that I do NOT have a green, or environmentally safe studio - It is virtually impossible with the line of work I do - and any silversmith that tells you otherwise is bullshitting. I can tell you, however, that I have a much greener, and invironmentally safer studio than any factory that mass produces jewelry for jewelry "designers". Even the "green" ones dump tons of pollutants into our environment. By tons, I mean literally tons. In my entire lifetime of working, I may contribute about a gallon of pollution... THIS is why we promote "buy handmade" so heavily. NOT, "buy from a designer that get's their shit mass produced and helps contribute to an environmental waste land". I mean, if you want that to be Etsy's new tagline, be my guest. I will be outta here faster than you can say, "Lindsay Lohan's new line of jewelry on etsy".

  • DreamsandJewelry

    DreamsandJewelry said 7 years ago

    What in the world? Coral does not grow just anywhere just because there's "ocean". *headdesk I do like what the article has to say because it's a very real problem. My problem was with "who" they chose to write this article and her obvious self promotion off of Etsy.

  • DreamsandJewelry

    DreamsandJewelry said 7 years ago

    Unfortunately Coral does not "grow back" that easily. Temperature changes with the water as well as the light source and climate are all a delicate balance so cutting them down by the ton doesn't mean they'll grow back overnight. People will cut more than they should for supply and demand without a care as to how it affects the ocean life that need coral to survive. Yeah it grows back "If" the circumstances to form new life hasn't changed. They're finding reefs in Australia "bleaching" which means the coral is dead due to climate change.

  • BowWowzerZ

    BowWowzerZ said 7 years ago

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/warming-coral.html http://news.mongabay.com/2005/1117-corals.html http://www.ouramazingplanet.com/mass-die-off-at-coral-reef-triggered-by-93-degree-ocean-0450/ I would have to say coral reefs have much bigger fish to fry (pun intended) then the jewerly industry.

  • BadJen

    BadJen said 7 years ago

    Etsy: -you published a post by a mass-merchandiser (who are not allowed here per your own rules) -you allowed the poster in her non-seller account to link directly to her own selling site (which other members here are not allowed to do) -you posted an article that directly calls out a lot of your own sellers (which is against your own calling-out rules) -you allowed the blogger to pimp her off-Etsy item in her article What were you thinking? Get rid of the damn thing.

  • anee Admin

    anee said 7 years ago

    Hello! The spirit of this post was to educate and hopefully provoke reflection about an issue of which there’s not much awareness. This is one person’s point of view - an artist’s approach to sourcing materials. It was not Etsy's intention to suggest that others are not doing the right thing when choosing certain materials for their art or craft. Thank you all for sharing your ideas. The range of opinions expressed here is proof that we host a truly diverse community. We’ll close the comments now, to keep the discussion from straying off the subject. Thanks!

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