Coral of Torre del Greco: a tradition of jewelry

Salvatore Formisano and his sisters Anna and Gemma, with love and passion drive the historic family business Coral Orafa Mediterranean, based in Torre del Greco, the cradle of the coral of Torre del Greco.

In his own words he transmitted to us his love for Italian traditions and told us how to Torrese is precisely the expression of passion and wealth of the minds of the local people.

Salvatore, the Coral of Torre del Greco is related to a fascinating world and is full of tradition, just like the history of your family and your company.

Coral Orafa was started by my paternal grandparents. My grandfather was a seaman and the whole history of the people of Torre del Greco is born from the salt water next to us. My grandmother was a housewife and early 1900 had started to thread coral necklaces at home helped by local girls.

At the time, the work with coral and threading necklaces was exclusively for women while the men were at sea and from simple woodsmen became skilled coral fishermen. Only later did Torre del Greco replace Herculaneum as the centre of coral ‘fishing’.

After about 50 years, the craft of my grandmother became a business in itself – Coral Orafa Mediterranea – founded in the middle of the last century based on coral of Torre del Greco. My father Raffaele guided and focused its activities in the coral jewelry making use of Torresi workers. He taught me and my sisters the culture of coral and the jewelry know-how giving us various roles in the company. He made us fall in love with this work by saying: ‘The family business is an opportunity and not a right: win your place in the company!’

What does coral and your jewelry convey to those who buy them?

Our jewelry preserves the flavour of traditional Torrese – coral of Torre del Greco. The pieces combine the natural stones, coral and turquoise, safeguarding tradition. The inspiration of jewelry comes from historical designs which are then realised without losing the identity of the coral of Torre del Greco.

Over time the original designs have been modified by inserting new elements, born from the encounter between the artistic ability of craftsmen with the good artistic taste of my father. For us of Torre del Greco, coral carving is engraved in our DNA and we learn alongside our teachers why our jewelry is the synthesis of history and uniqueness.

Coral Orafa is a company that breathes the scent of Torre del Greco and is expanding internationally. Where is it going?

We are a family, overlooking the sea and the world. My father first, then my sisters and I, we first entered the European market for 8 years and attended the fairs in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Taiwan. The Asian market now gives us 95% of our sales.

India is a regular buyer of our jewelry creations, which in turn they sell to the Chinese. Coral, in Chinese tradition, expresses positivity and is a good omen for the bride who wears it. The coral of Torre del Greco is appreciated by foreign customers who never cease to marvel at the beauty of the coral, which we assemble strictly on gold.

Salvatore, why does the coral in Torre del Greco fascinate?

Because of our craftsmanship and the love of our traditions and our history that we transmit. We guard this knowledge and give it to every woman in the world who wears our jewelry.