How do they do it?
Collecting seashells have been one of the longest past times in human history. Seashells that are left by the tides are mostly empty; either they are already dead or eaten by other predators. However, ever since the burgeoning of beach resort tourism and the yearly Spring/Summer fashion, the demand for precious seashells are increasing, thus in some cases, the beautiful seashells are collected live and the mollusk creature inside the shell die. According to experts, if one collects only the empty shells, they are often faded and not colourful or as attractive as the ones with the animal still alive inside.
Processing collected seashells usually depend on what you plan to do with the seashells and what you want them to look like. These are mainly the steps to clean the shell:
- If the animal is still in the shell, place the shell in water and slowly bring it to near boiling to cook the mollusk.
- After it is fully cooked, pull the animal out slowly and make sure the liver (the last little curly-cue part that is in the shell) is all out.
Another way besides boiling is you may place the shell on an ant hill. The ants will clean it out in a couple of days.
- Next, soak the shells in diluted bleach for 10 minutes to a few hours (depending on the degree of encrustation). This is the most common and simplest method for most shells. However, some shells are too fragile for this. The periostracum (external covering of the shell that protects the limy portion from acids) will come off in the bleach.
Once the shell is cleaned, brush on some diluted mineral oil or baby oil. You may dilute the solution with lighter fluid or paint thinner. This will bring out the colour and shine of the shell.
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