Natural Craft (Part 1 of 2): The Shells Of The Sea – History

Brief Introduction

Welcome to the shore of AsianSecret.my Seashells. Our native beachcombers sieved through Southeast Asian coasts to search for only the best and exquisite seashells. Warm, white sandy beaches and floral dresses are incomplete without beautiful accessories to complement the joyous theme. Au naturel, simple, and elegant, let our collection entice you with different types of high quality women’s accessories and home decors

Brief History

Seashells are the outer-skeleton remnants of various marine mollusks.  People around the globe value seashells for their stunning natural shapes and colors. As early as Cro-Magnon man, before the female Homo-sapiens began to accessorize with silver and gold, they donned themselves with jewels from the sea left by the waves and tides. Today, a lot of native and bohemian accessories still make use of seashells as decorative jewelries.

 

Bottom Surface of Cowry Seashell.

 

From time immemorial, seashells were regarded as coveted items that have been studied and used for various purposes. These mollusk shells have been used as ornamentation on the body, clothing and other decorative objects. The most commonly seen seashell is ‘Cowry’ (or sometimes spelled as Cowrie). It is smooth and shiny, more or less egg-shaped, with a flat under surface that has a narrow, slit-like opening, which is often toothed at the edges. The old Italian term of cowry shell is Porcellana, hence the English word ‘porcelain’ was coined after its smooth-texture attributes.

Cowry is popular among the Kikuyu and the Maasai tribe in Kenya, Africa. It is widely and heavily ornamented on their traditional attires and ritual accessories. Thousands of years ago in Asia, especially during ancient China, the cowry shells were highly sought-after. It was a treasured item for the living, and the dead. The living celebrated its fineness through clothing, and the dead (emperors and lords) immortalize their cadavers with a certain number of cowries stuffed in their mouths.

 

Opalescent Maireener Sea Shells.

 

At the mention of seashell accessories, an avid aboriginal jewel collector will definitely bring up ‘Tasmanian Shell Necklace’. Archaeologists have found that as far back as 2,600 years ago, aboriginal women in Tasmania, Australia, have created seashell accessories for their tribeswomen (Palawa people) as part of their tradition and culture. The seashell they mainly used is Maireener, a type of tiny, conical shell with pointy bottom and is mostly green or opalescent in colour with a pearly sheen. Maireener necklaces were made as an adornment for ceremonies, as gifts, and as objects to be traded with other sea and land people for food, clothing, and other supplies.

 

Puka Shell Bracelet.

 

The Natural Hole in Puka Shell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Hawaiian coasts, one can notice a certain significant kind of seashell that is famous for making necklaces, bracelets and anklets. Pooka shell, or Puka, has its name derived from the Hawaiian word “hole”, which refers to the intrinsic hole in the middle of the shell. The shells are easily strung like beads and crafted into accessories, all thanks to the natural hole. According to Hawaiian traditional beliefs, Puka shell necklace is to be worn by those who had to travel at sea on a long journey to ensure a peaceful and safe voyage.

 

Raw Capiz Shell

Hand-Painted Capiz Shell Earrings

Genuine Capiz Shell Chandelier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Native to the Philippines coasts are Capiz shells. Capiz is a province in the north of the Philippines facing the Sibuyan Sea. Capiz shell – the outer shell of the marine bivalve mollusk Placuna Placenta – is usually light, thin, and semi-transparent with a pearlescent appearance. It is a popular pick for chandeliers and other decorative interior décor items because of its striking appearance when light shines through, and also the calming chime sound it produces against the breeze. Capiz shell is elegant, and its use as decorative fashion adornments is unlimited.

 

 

Continue to Part 2: The Shells Of The Sea - The Process




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One Response to “Natural Craft (Part 1 of 2): The Shells Of The Sea – History”

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