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Petal Pusha

From the Sea Garden

In traditional Igbo culture, there are no random pieces of attire. Every item has significance, serving as a daily reminder of identity, moral values and/or history. One of the most recognizable aspects of this practice is seen today in the use of red Coral ~ an iconic symbol of Nigerian culture worn for various ceremonial events. Coral material formed from organic sediments of both living and non-living organisms. The carbonate secretions (part of the structure that coral polyps live off) are used to create beads. As a result of over harvesting, climate changes, and pollution, several species of corals are now endangered. There are various folklore surrounding the history of the coral. Some say it was once a plant and thus called it "Garden of the Sea," while others state it was collected from the Sea Goddess. Igbo coral beads are a traditional form of amulets or talisman. For centuries, it has been cherished for its metaphysical properties of healing and protection, as well as its bold beauty. In Ancient Egypt, it was used in burials based on the idea that it contained a drop of divine blood, that would protect the wearer from evil spirits after they die. Traditionally worn by only royalty or tribal rulers. Today, they are a popular wedding accessory and still used in burials, as a modern way of honoring the ancestral spirit and securing blessings from the Earth.


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