Coral

One of the characteristic and important elements of the folk costume from the vicinity of Krakow were ornaments made of natural coral. It was placed in rings, crosses, earrings and were used to decorate bonnets. The beads were threaded on a string and hung around the neck, and every girl and woman wanted to have as many coral strings as possible.

The term "beads" is usually understood as a string of glass beads, wood or other material, strung on a thread and hung around the neck. The word has two other meanings, however – is the common name for an entire group of animals – coral, belonging to caviar living in warm seas, and at the same time the name of the material used in jewelry. Almost everything connects these two concepts. Splits… death. Corals develop a thick outer skeleton that usually takes the shape of a tall tree 30 do 40 cm, with branches starting from a few mm thick. do 4, a nawet 6 cm. These "trees” comes out of the sea from the depths 3 do 300 meters, removes living polyps, and the dead skeleton is made of calcium carbonate (mineral-aragonite) is a raw material for the manufacture of jewelery, m.in. strings of beads. The noblest, red coral is the most wanted, from pale pink to blood red. The red one was the decoration of the Krakow national costume. White varieties were less valued, blue and black. In the old days, the main centers for producing coral jewelery were Smyrna and Magnesia in Little Asia. Contemporary-Italy, France, Japan, Australia and the Hawaiian Islands. Expensive coral ornaments, the more expensive, that they had to be brought from afar, only the richest women from Kraków could decorate. Poorer, who couldn't afford real coral, they used an imitation of him – beads made of… bread.

The story of people getting rich is often the story of gold counterfeiting, silver and all expensive sought-after goods and products, and therefore also precious stones. Some wanted to earn money on stones imitating real ones, others – poorer, they wanted to pretend to be rich and wore imitations, which for little money pretended to be real gems. Everybody, from the beginning of humanity, they wanted to wear some beauty ornaments, colorful flowers, multi-colored bird feathers, and then the flower-stones of the earth. Then came fashion, e.g.. in the 17th century, ordering to embellish court clothes with lots of jewels. There were not enough of them for everyone, and not all of them had sufficiently large fortunes.