The Sciacca Coral has unique origins in the world: it is closely tied to the exceptional history of the Ferdinandea Island, which is a submerged volcanic island in the Strait of Sicily, between Pantelleria and Sciacca. As of today the summit of the Ferdinandea Island remains between about 6 and 8 metres below the Mediterranean Sea level. Its most recent appearance as an island was in July 1831.
In the late 1831, in a shoal (called later ”Bummolo” by the fishermen of Sciacca) located around 30 miles from Sciacca, a new island emerged in a fiery hell from the depths of the Strait of Sicily. However, one year later, the island sank back beneath the waters and disappeared in the Strait of Sicily for good.
Over time, thanks to the exceptional microclimate determined by the frequent volcanic phenomena along the slopes of the submerged volcano, huge coral reefs have developed in the shoal. These huge coral reefs were torn up because of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and then settled at the bottom of the sea, becoming three huge coral fields. Over the centuries the structure of the coral fields has been modified by the volcano’s activity, and the Red Coral of the Mediterranean Sea was transformed into the unique and extraordinary Sciacca Coral, which grows in great quantity in the Sciacca area. The Sciacca coral is characterized by unique shades of colour, which go from the intense orange-red to the salmon-pink.
In 1875 three trawler captains from Sciacca found some ”red gold” in their nets and, soon thereafter, broke the news in the city, thus starting a ”gold rush”. As the story goes, Bettu Ammareddu, a trawler captain, was out fishing with Bertu Occhidilampa and Peppe Muschidda, when he suddenly lost his necklace – a present, a token of love and a good-luck charm given to him by his beloved Tina. He dived into the water in order to look for his necklace and discovered the fields of coral.