Beads of natural origin are invariably popular. In a world full of plastic and artificiality, we appreciate the richness of nature given to us. Uniqueness, originality and nobility are just some of the features we associate these beads with.
Shells are characteristic shells of molluscs from the group of seashells. They arise from the secretions of special glands and grow so that as the animal grows, the edges of the coat move away from each other and deposit new layers of building material, increasing its size.
In jewelry, porcelain shells are most often used and we will focus on them. Porcelaines are sea snails that inhabit all of the salty and warm seas of the world. They are especially common in areas of coral reefs, where they hunt small animals hidden among corals. Their sizes can vary considerably, the smallest are about 1.2 cm, the largest reach almost 20 cm.
The historical importance of shells
Porcelain - kauri shells were an important element of the ancient world. In Greece, these shells were dedicated to the goddess of love - Aphrodite. Due to the similarity of the underside of the shells to the female genitalia, they were used as amulets to combat infertility and facilitate the maintenance of pregnancy.
In Italy, some women still wear small shell necklaces. They are to guard against evil charms and ensure prosperity. In addition, the collection of Caligula's shells is an interesting mention in the history of the Romans. During the invasion of Britain, he ordered his troops to collect the shells he had brought and presented as part of the war trophies.
Similar talismans were found in ancient Egypt. Porcelain women have also been found in women's graves all over Europe and even in other parts of the world.
A special orange variety of porcelain was extremely important in the islands of Fiji and Solomon. There, the chiefs wore a shell around their necks as a sign of their authority. It was treated as the equivalent of a crown.
In China, in the 16th century BC, and in parts of Africa from the 11th century AD, shells were used as a means of payment. In the 17th century, the English and Dutch bought slave shells for their shells. Shells can also be found in Polish culture. Kauri shells are still strung around the traditional highlander hats.
A memento from the past? Or maybe a fashionable holiday accessory?
In more recent history, shells have not lost their popularity. Collectors are looking for both recently found shells and those fossilized. 'Sunken' in stone, ammonites are sometimes transformed into pieces of jewelery reminiscent of the era of dinosaurs.
In the last century, jewelry made of various types of shells was eagerly bought, and shell buttons in coats and suits were particularly popular. In Europe, shell jewelry is especially associated with summer and vacation, and its sales are particularly high in seaside resorts. Bracelets were the undisputed hit of 2019.