A hard calcareous, marine production, produced by the labors of millions of insects, and often resembling in figure the stem of a plant, divided into branches. It is of various colors, black, white, and red. The latter is the most valuable. It is ranked by Job 28:18, and Eze 27:16, among precious stones. It abounds in the Red sea; and the islands of the South seas are often coral reefs, covered over with earth. The word "rubies" in Pr 3:15; 8:11; 20:15; 31:10, is thought by many to mean ornaments of coral.
(9) Heb. ramoth, meaning "heights;" i.e., "high-priced" or valuable things, or, as some suppose, "that which grows high," like a tree (Job 28:18; Eze 27:16), according to the Rabbins, red coral, which was in use for ornaments.
(10) The coral is a cretaceous marine product, the deposit by minute polypous animals of calcareous matter in cells in which the animal lives. It is of numberless shapes as it grows, but usually is branched like a tree. Great coral reefs and coral islands abound in the Red Sea, whence probably the Hebrews derived their knowledge of it. It is found of different colours, white, black, and red. The red, being esteemed the most precious, was used, as noticed above, for ornamental purposes.
More precious in ancient times than now, when it is more easily procured (Job 28:18; Eze 27:16). The red coral is the stony skeleton of a red zoophyte. In the Mediterranean, on the African coast off Tunis, attached to the rock at a considerable depth, and broken off from them by long hooked poles, and thus drawn out (Hebrew for "price," Job 28:18, is meshek, "the drawing out".) From Carthage (where Tunis now stands) the rough coral was imported to the mother city Tyre, and there manufactured into ornaments to be purchased by merchants for the women of Syria. Its tree-like growth is implied by its name ramoth, from raam "to be high"; others from the Sanskrit ramye, "pleasant."
A production of the sea, formed by minute animals called zoophytes. It is their shell or house. It takes various forms, as of trees, shrubs, hemispheres. The principal colors are red and white. It was used for beads and ornaments. With regard to the estimation in which coral was held by the Jews and other Orientals, it must be remembered that coral varies in price with us. Pliny says that the Indians valued coral as the Romans valued pearls.