A secretion of the coral polyp, largely consisting of calcium carbonate. Red or precious coral (Corallium rubrum) is the species most used by craftsmen and is most widely distributed in the Mediterranean. It can be found in the shallower coastal waters of North Africa around Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, around the islands of Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia, around Naples and the Ligurian coast and around Barcelona and Marseille; it is also found in the Fiji Islands. Since the end of the 19th century deposits in the Pacific, principally the Japanese archipelago, have become increasingly important, especially for coral sculpture. Pacific coral may be distinguished from Mediterranean by its greater hardness, weight and size and by the diversity of its colour. Coral is fished, either by divers or from boats that drag wooden or iron crosses across the sea bed with ropes; at each extremity of the cross is a net bag that collects the uprooted coral bushes.
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