Distillations magazine

Unexpected Stories from Science’s Past

Making and Knowing (Fake) Coral

Watch historians re-create a recipe for imitation coral, a popular material in early modern jewelry and home décor.

gloved hand mixing ingredients for an experiment
About SUPPORT OUR WORK

In a cramped lab, historians from Columbia University and the Chemical Heritage Foundation (now the Science History Institute) are reconstructing a 16th-century workshop by re-creating recipes from an anonymous craftsperson’s manuscript. One of the recipes being pursued is for imitation coral, a popular material in early modern jewelry and home décor.

More from our magazine

Color illustration of a man and women in South Asian attire
DISTILLATIONS MAGAZINE

Matchmaking in Colonial India

An inconspicuous technology sparks revolution on the subcontinent.

Daguerreotype of old man in royal clothing with infant child
DISTILLATIONS MAGAZINE

The Eclipse That Killed a King (and May Have Saved a Kingdom)

How the scientific prowess of King Mongkut of Siam helped stave off European incursion.

Drug packaging with label
DISTILLATIONS MAGAZINE

Dreams and Nightmares

Oxycodone’s early years.

    Republish

    Copy the above HTML to republish this content. We have formatted the material to follow our guidelines, which include our credit requirements. Please review our full list of guidelines for more information. By republishing this content, you agree to our republication requirements.