Torre del Greco and the Fruit of the Sea

The harvesting of coral in the coastal city of Torre del Greco, Italy, dates back to at least the beginning of the 15th century. But turning “red gold” into jewelry didn't begin until 1805, when the King of Naples, Ferdinando IV, granted Paolo Bartolomeo Martin of Marseille, France, a 10-year monopoly on the manufacture of coral in the town. At that moment an industry was born. Today the city of rolling hills in the province of Naples and in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius is the hub of the coral and cameo jewelry world, with approximately 350 companies and 2,600 workers directly involved in turning coral into objects of beauty. About 75 percent of the city's production is exported. Its largest markets are Japan, the United States, and Europe. Annual income from the trade is roughly $222 million. Nearly all the companies that toil in this art form are family owned and very small. Mo

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