Red Coral vs White Coral: A Comprehensive Comparison

In the titillating and unfathomable domain of gemstones, coral stones are undoubtedly one of the most underrated gemstone types. Considered no less than rubies in terms of allure and no less than sapphires in terms of astrological significance, a natural red coral stone exudes brilliance and charm in heaps and is widely touted as one of the most robust gemstones in existence.

Coral gemstones are primarily in the Mediterranean Sea below a depth of a minimum of 50 meters. It is derived from the genus of marine corals, Corallium. The par-excellent quality coral gemstones come in lush red to pale red and pinkish hues. However, the most sought-after variants of coral gemstones are natural red coral and white coral. Time and again, numerous comparisons have been made between red and white coral stones and everyone has put their calculative and figurative statements between the supremacy of one over the other. 

The sole purpose of creating this handy guide on red coral vs white coral comparison is to educate all gemstone enthusiasts and valued readers significance of both gemstones and the key differences between them. We have chosen different parameters just to make sure our red coral vs white coral comparison is no less than a holistic action.

Red Coral vs White Coral: Origin

Red coral, the derivative of (Corallium rubrum), is a species of coral that is actually a living organism, not a plant. It thrives in rocky seabeds in the Mediterranean Sea and the nearby Atlantic Ocean at depths of 10-300 meters. Red coral colonies grow very slowly, at a rate of 0.3-2 cm per year. That’s why the demand for original red corals is staggering in the international market. 

On the other hand, White coral refers to the skeletal remains of deceased coral polyps. It can come from many different coral species. When the living coral polyp dies, its soft tissue rots away leaving behind the white calcium carbonate skeleton. These coral skeletons build up over time to form coral reefs.

In short, Japanese Red coral is a living animal that grows slowly into colonies. Its red skeleton forms while the animal is alive. White coral is composed of the skeletal remains of dead coral polyps. It refers to the bleached, white calcium carbonate skeletons left behind after the coral organisms die.

The world’s best quality red corals are derived from Italy and Japan. The demand for Italian red corals in the international market is unimaginable as their implications in the jewelry segment and astrological significance are gargantuan. Whereas, white corals principally come from the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea.

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Red Coral vs White Coral: Color

Red coral gets its distinctive and lush red color from a pigment called astaxanthin that is present in the living coral polyps. It’s the same pigment that gives salmon, lobsters, and flamingos their reddish-pink hues. When the polyps die, the pigment fades away eventually.

On the other hand, we have already stated that white coral is the skeletal remains of dead coral polyps that have lost their living tissues and coloring. The calcium carbonate skeleton of the coral has a naturally white hue which is the key reason behind the pale to deep white color in white corals.

Some additional color differences:

The red coloration in coral can range from light pinkish-orange to deep crimson.

White coral color remains white throughout as it accumulates over time to form coral reef structures. However, living corals like stony corals contain symbiotic algae that lend different hues like brown, green, or grey to the coral reefs.

Over time, white coral skeletons may also get stained or discolored by other organisms like algae or sponges growing on them. This can lend a green, purple, or yellowish tinge, however, they are quite rare.

Must Check: – Red Coral vs Yellow Sapphire

Red Coral vs White Coral: Physical Properties

Both original red moonga stones and white corals share similar physical properties as they belong to the same family. However, there are numerous noteworthy differences as well that we have pointed out in the comparison on the basis of physical properties.


The red coral outer skeleton is moderately hard and has a rating of 3.5-4 on the Mohs hardness scale.

White coral skeleton is also quite similar to red coral in terms of hardness as it has a rating of 3-4 on the Mohs scale.


Red coral has a horny, flexible skeleton with a matte surface.

White coral has a rigid, brittle structure with a smooth, porcelain-like surface.


When it comes to density comparison, Red coral is less dense than white coral because the flexible skeleton depletes sluggishly with time.

White coral is very dense due to repetitive mineralization over time.


The red coral skeleton has small pores on its surface.

White coral skeleton is more porous after mineralization.


Red coral branches have irregular, bushy growth.

White coral has varied shapes like intricate branches or rounded boulders.

In a nutshell, while both have moderately hard calcium carbonate skeletons, white coral is denser and more porous after mineralization. Red coral has a flexible, horny structure compared to white coral’s rigid, smooth skeleton. The growth patterns also differ between the bushy red coral colonies and the diverse shapes of fossilized white coral.

Red Coral vs White Coral: Astrological Benefits

Red coral is strongly associated with the planet Mars and is said to help strengthen one’s ambition, drive, passion, and self-confidence. It is also widely believed to protect against black magic, evil spirits, and accidents. In crystal healing, it is used to stimulate metabolism, increase fertility, and boost energy levels. Moreover, red coral is also worn to treat diabolical Mangal Dosha.

On the other hand, White coral is deeply linked to the planet Venus and is associated with attracting love, romance, and happiness. It is supposed to enhance emotional stability, creativity, and intuition of a wearer. In crystal healing, white coral is used for calming nerves, relieving stress, and promoting skin health and beauty.

Red coral is a traditional birthstone for those born in January. It may be made into astrological pendants and rings to harness the power of Mars.

White coral is sometimes used as a substitute for pearl in astrological jewelry when a person cannot afford natural pearls. It stands in for the Moon’s energy.

Overall, red coral is valued for its energizing and protective powers, while white coral is prized for its nurturing and supportive energies. Their purported astrological benefits differ based on the planets they are said to represent.

However, there is no scientific evidence for these claimed astrological and healing effects of either type of coral. The benefits are based on traditional beliefs and have not been verified through controlled studies.

Also Read: – Side Effects of Wearing Red Coral

Red Coral vs White Coral: Price

  • Red coral tends to be more expensive and valuable than white coral. High-quality red coral can sell for over $300 per gram, while white coral is often less than $100 per gram.
  • The higher price of red coral is largely due to its scarcity. Red coral grows very slowly, at rates of just 3-5mm per year. It can take several decades for colonies to reach harvestable sizes. Meanwhile, white coral grows more quickly.
  • Red coral is also considered more precious in jewelry making. Its deep red color is prized in Mediterranean and Asian cultures. White coral has a more pale pinkish tone.
  • The rareness and demand for red coral have led to overharvesting in some areas like the Mediterranean. Red coral populations have declined significantly. White coral is more abundant and faces less harvesting pressure.
  • In general, the slow growth, scarcity, and cultural preferences make red coral considerably more valuable per gram than white coral on the market. However, white coral is still harvested and used as a budget-friendly alternative to red coral in some jewelry.

Red Coral vs White Coral: Popularity

  • There is no denying that Red coral has traditionally been more popular and sought after than white coral stone. It has also been used in affordable and expensive jewelry and decorative objects for thousands of years, especially in Mediterranean and Asian cultures.
  • The distinct red color of coral reefs led to associations with blood, life, and vitality in many ancient cultures. This boosted its popularity and perceived value. White coral lacks the striking color that made red coral culturally significant.
  • In Greek mythology, red coral was said to be the solidified blood of the Gorgon Medusa. In ancient China, it was believed to hold protective powers. These cultural links increased red coral’s popularity.
  • Red coral jewelry and amulets have been found dating back to ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece and Persia. It was also popular in Victorian England. White coral was far less common in antique and vintage jewelry.
  • Modernly, red coral is still preferred over white coral in fine jewelry. However, white coral has become a more popular substitute for those who cannot afford red coral.
  • Environmental concerns have also boosted white coral, as red coral populations have declined expeditiously in the last couple of years. White coral offers an eco-friendly alternative to astrology and jewelry domains.

Overall, red coral has historically been more popular due to its color, cultural significance, and rarity. But white coral is now gaining some favor as a sustainable and affordable jewelry material.

Check More: – Benefits of Red Coral


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Written By pmkkgems

Muskan Sain is a well-versed gemstone expert with over 8 years of experience in the field. She has received extensive training from a renowned gemological institute, which has equipped her with comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the identification, grading, and valuation of gemstones.


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