A seashell or sea shell, also known simply as a shell, is a hard, protective outer layer usually created by an animal that lives in the sea. The shell is part of the body of the animal. Empty seashells are often found washed up on beaches by beachcombers. The shells are empty because the animal has died and the soft parts have decomposed or been eaten by another animal.
Types of Seashells
There are several kinds of seashells that are most suited for shell jewelry. Even some of the sea creatures such as sand dollars, starfish, and seahorses are used in jewelry designs. Artists often choose conical, puka, bonnet, and other seashells when creating jewelry pieces. At Precious Jewels we use all 3 types of seashells.
- Conical Shells: Conical shells are popular for jewelry, especially as a feature or centerpiece. These shells are naturally colorful and have an almost geometric pattern design as well as a spiral effect that is very pleasing for a piece of jewelry. Colorful conical shells are created by a cone-shaped sea urchin species known as “conus.”
- Puka Shells: For decades, the most popular seashell used to make jewelry has been the puka shell. Puka shell necklaces are popular beach souvenirs, and they symbolize beach vacations for many people. Typically, puka shells can be any kind of shell with a hole in the center, since the word “puka” means “hole” in Hawaiian. These days, they are often machined to facilitate stringing.
- Abalone Shells: Colorful abalone shells are used either in whole pieces or carved in shapes that are used for inlay in various pieces of jewelry. Abalone has a great iridescent color and adds a desirable visual appeal to just about any jewelry design.