The presence of coral in Dubrovnik’s history

Harvesting coral was an important part of Dubrovnik’s local industry back in the 15th and 16th centuries. The majority of the fisherman were from the islands of Kolocep, Mljet and Lastovo and the most expansive coral colonies were found in the depths around the tiny island of Saint Andrew (Sv.Andrija).

During the Renaissance period women from Dubrovnik wore strands of coral around their necks, and Dubrovnik’s goldsmiths were implementing coral into various designs of earrings, bracelets, brooches and in the buttons used on traditional attire. 

In 1664 the local government banned women wearing coral necklaces due to the Republic’s financial struggles, only noblewomen were allowed to wear them. But over time this law was forgotten and women from villages around Dubrovnik again began to wear gold necklaces (kolarin) made of large filigree balls with strands of coral in between.