Hyde Park has joined the campaign to help conserve the world’s coral populations. Too Precious to Wear is a SeaWeb campaign that works with the jewelry and design industries to create demand for coral conservation. The campaign strives to reduce threats to corals by recruiting influential fashion and design leaders as leading voices for coral protection.
Corals are among the most important animals in the sea. Shallow-water reef corals provide marine life with food, safe havens from predators and areas for reproduction. Deep-sea corals have been used for centuries in jewelry, art and design. But these living animals are not mere accessories from the sea. Corals are vital for a healthy ocean.
What Scientists are Saying
Scientists estimate that we are losing the Indo-Pacific reefs, which represent 75 percent of all tropical coral reefs, at a rate of two percent per year – faster than rain forest destruction. A recent study showed that one-third of all reef-building corals are threatened with extinction, making them some of the most endangered animals on the planet. Deep-sea corals such as red and pink coral commonly used in jewelry and home decor are threatened by destructive fishing and direct removal for the jewelry and home decor industries. Yet there is hope. If local impacts such as pollution, fishing pressure and consumer demand are reduced, corals will have a better chance at surviving global threats such as climate change.
Protection for Corals
Many countries have domestic measures in place to protect corals, but more could be done. Red and pink corals are the most valuable and widely traded of all precious corals, yet they have no international trade protection. In March 2010, international governments failed to provide trade protection for a host of marine species – including precious red and pink corals – at the 15th Conference of Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. It is now essential that the jewelry and design industries act where international governments have failed. Too Precious to Wear calls on responsible designers and retailers to refuse to use red and pink coral until responsible management measures are in place and populations can recover. Many alternatives to real coral exist. In the United States, Congress needs to reauthorize a stronger version of the Coral Reef Conservation Act. The act provides an opportunity to support coral reef research and management, taking into consideration coral trade pressures, reef destruction and climate change.
What You Can Do to Help
Coral-inspired (instead of coral-derived) jewelry, home decor and fashion designs help to ensure that coral stays in the ocean where it belongs. Designers who commit to not use coral in their designs can support coral conservation and serve as influential spokespeople, joining Hyde Park, Temple St. Clair, Lela Rose, Monique Pean, Tiffany & Co., Michael Aram, Melissa Joy Manning, Lilly Pulitzer and many others. Consumers can do their part for coral conservation simply by refusing to purchase live or real coral. Finally, you can voice your support for stronger protection measures by signing the Too Precious to Wear coral pledge, available at www.seaweb.org/TPTW/pledge.