The antique coin necklace for the Maison Bvlgari is a traditional piece of jewelry. The Italian brand began to use ancient bronze coins for more than 50 years, back in the 60s of the last century.
But shell jewelry is a story of almost twenty thousand years. It is these shells, sawn, drilled or strung, that archaeologists find today. Beauty and perfection, amazing colors of shells created by the underwater world of nature, as if intended for those materials that have been used by man for jewelry since time immemorial. Today, shell jewelry remains one of the most beloved for women.
Choosing the most beautiful, fabulous and bizarre shell shapes with indescribable shades of color is not an easy task. Either twisted into a tight spiral, or long conical curved tubes, or like a star-shaped shell, differing from each other not only in shape and size, but also in weight, which can reach up to 10 kg in some specimens.
If, for example, we consider only one family of cone shells, then here we can count up to 400 species, which, by their beauty, will not leave anyone indifferent. Yes, they are amazingly beautiful and diverse. Moreover, with some of them great care is required, unless of course you decide to find such specimens on your own - they have a kind of protection - a “sting”.
For many of us, collecting seafood becomes a real disease, which takes time and money. Therefore, traveling around the islands, some bring with them unique underwater masterpieces.
One of the first collectors was the Greek scientist and philosopher Aristotle. It was he who created in 336 AD a considerable work on mollusks. Julius Caesar was also a shell collector.
Among the numerous types of sea shells, there are very rare ones that are of great value to collectors. Their cost can reach several hundred dollars. If you are a lover of travel and scuba diving, then you should get the shells of live mollusks in extremely limited quantities so as not to damage nature. After all, any reasonable person should always think about it.
There are some types of molluscs, for the shells of which there is a constant hunt. For example, shells of cypriae (kauri). They are a favorite subject for collectors, as the natural beauty and at the same time almost untreated shell attract the attention of collectors.
Cowrie shells were a symbol of fertility, they embroidered hats, woven vessels, decorated bags and baskets and other household items, as well as ritual masks. Cowries were worn as a talisman, and it was believed that the more shells on a person, the more reliable protection from mysterious forces. One of the sorcerers of West Africa wore a chain of 20 small shells. How much did this chain weigh? - It turns out about 22 kilograms.
But that's not all. Kauri among the African nobility were insignia, and replaced them with orders. The beauty of the shells conquered the Europeans as well, so jewelry from overseas shells could be found already in the 7th-8th centuries in Europe. And until recently, overseas shells were also decorated with ancient festive dresses of Mordovian, Chuvash, Bashkir and Kyrgyz women. Nowadays, unusual cowrie shell ornaments are often exhibited in art salons, which are not inferior in beauty to a stone scattering of gems.
It should be noted the largest among bivalve mollusks. These are tridacnae that live near the eastern coast of Australia. True, due to its huge size, the kingdom of tridacnids has significantly thinned out today so much that they are listed in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Mollusks reach one and a half meters in length and weigh 250 kilograms. It is unlikely that you will find them, and if you find them, then it’s not at all easy to get them, but even more so to bring them with you.
Shellfish live and die (some species can live up to 200-300 years) and shells accumulate on the sea floor.
A lot can be said about shells, because the extraordinary perfection of natural creation cannot leave indifferent any of us, especially refined natures.
Man has long sought to capture the beauty of shells. The front walls of palaces were decorated with shells, shells were depicted in paintings - for example, the birth of the goddess Venus (Aphrodite) from sea foam was illustrated by all artists of all times with the obligatory presence of a scallop shell.
In the ornamental art of the rococo style (rocaille), which means "ornament from the shell", whimsical curls are stylized shells of pectin (scallop).
The rainbow play of colors is found on the canvases of the Russian artist M.A. Vrubel, for example, his painting "Pearl".
The Hermitage has a canvas - Still Life with Shells by the artist Balthazar van der Ast.
Some large shells, such as nautiluses (ships), have long been used to make goblets, goblets, bowls, and other unique items.
In Greek mythology, there is a legend about Pan, the god of forests and groves, to whom Zeus gave a horn from a triton shell. When Pan blew this horn, such terrible sounds were made that all who heard, losing their minds, fled in fear. By the name of Pan, this flight was called panic, and the state of reckless fear - panic.
Some shells in India, Burma and Indonesia are considered sacred. Many shells became amulets, which were believed to bring success and happiness to their owner. But most women, as always all over the world, are interested in shell jewelry, which, however, everyone can make on their own.
DIY seashell jewelry
If you pick up a pair of identical small and very beautiful shells, you will get successful earrings. For pendants and pendants, it is enough to choose the most expressive and beautiful one.
To make beads and necklaces, you will need a large number of shells, which should repeat each other in some way. And if you want to prove yourself as a real artist, then you can collect unusual souvenirs or objects from ordinary shell scrap. For example, a vase of flowers.
It is better to “paint” shell paintings from whole shells, intact, but having a simple shape.
If desired, you can make toys, boxes, caskets and even cameos. You already know that cameos are made of stone (glyptic - stone carving). It can also be made from shells, only in this case the material is softer and more pliable than stone.
If you love nature, in your hands the shells can turn into cute animal toys, an unusual picture, original earrings or clips, necklaces or pendants and much more. And you only need something: a jigsaw, a drill, thin drills, a brush, paints, glue, cardboard, fishing lines, clasps for necklaces or earrings, and ... patience.
But you can also buy ready-made jewelry from hand-made craftswomen.