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CORAL (coralium, Lat.; KopdWtov, Gr.j, in gem sculpture; a marine zoophyte that becomes, after removal from the water, as hard as a stone, of a fine red color, and will take a good polish. Coral is much used by gem sculptors for small ornaments, but is not so susceptible of receiving the finer execution of a gem as the hard and precious stones. Caylus has published an antique head of Medusa, sculptured in coral, of which the eyes are composed of a white substance resembling shells, incrusted or let in. He supposes it to have been an amulet, because the an cients, who were partial to a mystical ana* ogy between the substance and the subject represented (see Allegory), supposed, as Ovid relates in his Metamorphoses, that Perseus, after having cut off the head of Medusa, concealed it under some plants of coral, which instantly became petrified, and tinged with the color of the blood which flowed from it, and from a green turned to a red color. Pliny and other ancient authors attribute many superstitious qualities to the coral; therefore it is no wonder that it was often taken for an amulet. Pliny also relates that the Gauls, and the people inhabiting the maritime parts of Italy, as well as other nations on the seacoast, used it to form ornaments for their armor and household furniture.Co RAN. (See Koran.)