Grace Barlow & Agate Coral

Agatized & Stylized

Agatized coral for mineral home décor features unique pieces with an interesting history.

I first came across agatized coral in the Great Smoky Mountains, showcased by a diver from Florida. The colors caught my eye, from deep blues to rustic reds, with polished facets juxtaposed against a rugged exterior.

The colorway changes throughout the piece like an aesthetic wave. Sparkles dance in crystalized forms as the druzy catches the sunlight. I began to speak with a diver, who found the agatized coral hidden deep in Florida waters.

He picked up a piece lovingly in his hands, and began to tell its story….


Agatized coral begins as a living coral reef in the shallow seas of Florida. Over time, the buried corals evolve from the skeleton of tiny ocean animals. 

The coral is gradually replaced with agate under the water’s pressure, a process taking 20 to 30 million years.

Fossils fill the gaps with various forms of rock crystal quartz and chalcedony, giving the agate its sparkle and shine.

The term “agatized” refers to the variety of translucent chalcedony called “agate” which contains tiny crystals and is characterized by rich coloration.

Florida's State Stone

These corals would been sealed in the deep waters of Florida, for eternity, were it not for repeated glaciations exhuming these anomalies of water and time. 

Florida is the most important source of agatized coral in the USA, championing the mineral as its state stone.

Agatized coral is concentrated in the Withlacoochee/Suwannee riverbeds, Econfina River, and Tampa Bay area.

As two of the three locations are now closed, the coral is highly prized by collectors and can only be bought from divers and “rock hounds” who have excavated the specimens in years past.

From Cave to Home

The coral, rough on the outside, is cut in two with a diamond saw. It then follows a three-step cleaning process over 48 hours, beginning in a vibrating flat ground with silicon carbide. 

It is then cleaned, washed, and goes through a polishing process.

Agatized coral is rare and sought after, if you can find it. It shows up sporadically at rock and mineral fairs, where I first discovered it myself. 

The diver put the piece down and stood back to admire his collection. His life was dedicated to the coral’s search and discovery. He admired its story; I appreciated its beauty.

He introduced himself as John, and from there we became quick friends. I began to travel to him in Florida to start my own collection. 

The Interi Touch

I marry the agate coral with 18th century Italian artifacts to create unique sculptural pieces. Larger corals stand proudly in their own right, which I decorate with fossil ammonites and crystals. 

The raw minerals with crystalized quartz and druzy accent neutral tones with dark blues, grey, pink, tan, amber and black.

The combination of organic coral with historic artifact creates a piece that appears to have evolved together over time.

Interi began to decorate the home with agatized coral to accent interiors and accessorize furniture.

We carried the agatized coral from the caves of Florida to high-end homes throughout the USA. From the Architectural Digest show to Century Furniture, Interi has showcased these pieces, catching the eyes of admirers as the agatized coral first caught mine in North Carolina, 15 years ago.

Jean with Coral
Interi Founder & Creative Director, Jean Barlow, with a selection of agate coral and decorated fragment artifacts.
A pair of 18th-century Italian candlestick tops with polished fossil agate coral and baroque pearls.
We share the history and pieces to decorate and inspire!