In ancient times coral finds its popularity as an amulet, as evidenced especially by the classic “cornetto”, Italian for “little horn”, an amulet worn to protect against the evil eye. It was believed also to have beneficial effects on female fertility and to protect children from harm.
But it is as prestigious ornament that coral finds its affirmation. The processing of coral was mainly carried out by Jews from the fifteenth century onwards. After the eruption of Baroque the types and subjects of the works changed, as well as the techniques and materials used. The polymeric fashion leads to the creation of complex and articulated compositions that combine coral precious materials creating works of decorative exuberance, flamboyant, highly refined, and original.
Coral work involves various delicate stages, which are closely linked to the ancient craft tradition: washing, cleaning, cutting, drilling, removal of spines, polishing, engraving and setting. Today the Trapani method of working with coral is evident in the creation of high-quality compositions. The art of the masters of Trapani is not closed, but rather is attentive to the culture that originates from multiple places and touches not only Trapani, but also the rest of the island. The coral workers also often collaborate with bronze workers, goldsmiths and silversmiths, exchanging their experiences.
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