I've never used coreldraw but if you can. can you use 2 layers make one with a gradient and overlap the 2 (the second would be the same colour of the background and smaller then the first) so that it gives the illusion of one and then merge them?
giving the illusion of a border with a gradient.
I think I know what you're saying. You can duplicate the oject/objects. Then fill the object that is Behind with your gradation, then (like you said) make the forward image slightly smaller. So yes...you would have the effect of the object having an outlined gradient. You can get this effect in either CorelDraw or Illustrator or Photoshop for that matter.