Coral : a dear heritage to Vitale 1913
In 2017, Sir Alberto Vitale was finishing his first collection paying tribute to coral. Lover and passionate about the environment and the Ocean’s hidden treasures, he decided to shine the spotlight on coral while dedicated it to a full collection called «Ocean Treasures» presented in collaboration with the Prince Albert II of Monaco’s Foundation. A part of this collection’s benefits is given to the Foundation to support ocean protection while fighting against water pollution by plastics in particular. This collection, presented on the 23rd of October 2019, is a first step towards the gratification of this precious marine organism.
Very sensitive to the preservation of underwater fauna and flora, Alberto Vitale quickly became involved in this cause by offering his time as a founding member and vice-president of the young philanthropic association OceanoScientific Monaco, member of the Yacht Club of Monaco and the Foundation of Prince Albert II of Monaco.
The OceanoScientific association’s mission is to organize sailing expeditions whose ambition is to collect oceanographic data in sparsely frequented areas of the globe. This information is provided free of charge to the international community to assist them in their research on climate change causes and consequences. The ultimate goal of the OceanoScientific association is to educate, raise awareness, and mobilize as many people as future generations on the importance of acting in favour of the Ocean, for all humanity.
On the other hand, the OceanoScientific association wishes, during its various expeditions, to collect pieces of corals from all over the world, damaged by men or naturally, in order to set up an underwater greenhouse in Monaco and creating the largest coral reserve in the world, while pushing back hundreds of coral species to ensure their protection and prevent their disappearance.
Corals are living beings capable of surviving for more than 500 years. They are home to thousands of other marine species and are essential to the survival of the oceans and the maintenance of life on Earth.
For the making of his jewelry, Alberto Vitale wants to use only corals destroyed naturally. There is no question of degrading the beauty and ecosystem of the seabed. However, this practice requires professional coral fishers. In the Mediterranean sea, it is necessary to go under 80 and 120 meters below sea level to harvest these precious pieces of red-orange coral. Vitale 1913, therefore, chose to exclusively use the coral of Sciacca, a mythical Sicilian town, for the creation of its high-jewelry collection, «Ocean’s Treasures ».
The story said that Sicily, known as a red land, is home to many terrestrial volcanoes, such as Etna, Stromboli, and Vulcano, and underwater volcanoes, such as the Empedocles, which includes several volcanic islets. The Ferdinandea, a vast underwater volcano of 30 kilometers long and 25 kilometers wide, sleeps off the Sicilian coasts, located between Sciacca and the island Pantelleria, immersed only eight meters from the surface of the water. This still active volcano appeared for the last time in 1831 and emerged 63 meters above sea level, creating an island of 5 square kilometers. Its eruption lasted nearly a month and a half, and the tremors were so violent and so intense that it destroyed the corals as far as the coasts of Sciacca. The British were the first to land on the island and claimed its sovereignty. But the king of Naples and Sicily, Ferdinand II of Bourbon, had then sent ships to chase the British and christened the island Ferdinandea. A few months later, in December 1831, the question of the sovereignty of this islet disappeared with it, into the depths of the sea.
Therefore, the coral of Sciacca was naturally destroyed by the eruption of this volcano. The Liverino family, experts in coral for five generations, has participated mainly in the city’s prosperity Sciacca by practicing the red gold fishery.
That’s the reason why Vitale 1913 worked closely with the Liverino family. Enzo Liverino, also the President of the CIBJO Commission, «International Confederation of Jewellery, Jewelry, Goldsmithery of Diamonds, Pearls, and Stones», uses mainly the coral of Sciacca. The Liverino family has an impressive collection of coral jewels, sculptures, and other masterpieces, which visitors can admire in the Liverino Museum.