If you are looking for jewelry which is a little different then how about taking a look at conch shell jewelry?
Jewelry made from shells is one of the most ancient forms of body adornment. Shells have long been used as a form of beads and have been worn combined with gemstones or natural beads in many different cultures. The reason why many cultures have embraced shell jewelry is because shells are completely natural and each one is slightly different, with unique markings or other patterns and make wonderful items of jewelry.
One of the most popular forms of shell for jewelry is the conch shell. Its popularity reflects the inner beauty of the shell, with its delicate markings and coloring, and the fact that it can be cut into the right size for many items of jewelry. Jewelry made from shells is the ideal alternative to gemstones for someone looking to create their own unique style.
Types of Conch Shell Jewelry
The conch shell is traditionally cut and polished before being set into metal. The type of metal depends very much on the design of the item. Metals include silver and gold and both look fantastic against the subtle color of the shell. A conch shell is perfect for earrings, bracelets, necklaces and pendants as well as many other items.
One of a Kind Items of Jewelry
The natural color and markings of the conch shell make it a popular choice with jewelry designers and makers as this presents the jeweler with a wonderful opportunity to create something different and unique. The conch shell can be cut into a variety of shapes and therefore the choice can be extremely wide. The cost, however, is less than precious or semi-precious gemstones. This means that the jeweler can create one of a kind items of jewelry yet still at an accessible price.
Conch Shell Settings
When the cut and polished conch shell is set into jewelry it takes on a whole new style. The settings for conch shells are generally chosen to show off the shell to its best advantage. Many settings are of the 'rub over' style, which means that the top of the metal is gently rubbed over the piece of shell. This protects the shell against knocks and bumps.
Buying Conch Shell Jewelry
Here are some tips to help make the perfect purchase of shell jewelry:
- Buy from reputable stores - As with any purchase of jewelry, it is important to buy from a store with a good reputation. Conch shell jewelry can be imitated and made from inferior materials, for instance made from silver plate instead of solid sterling silver, or gilt instead of gold. A reputable jeweler will be able to give advice as to the best type of jewelry to buy.
- Check the conch shell for flaws - Before buying, check that the conch shell has not been damaged during the cutting and polishing process. Shell is more delicate than stones and sometimes the pieces can become damaged during preparation. Items of jewelry with small flaws should be avoided.
- Ask if the shell has been dyed - Some shells have been dyed to give them a brighter or more vibrant color. While there is nothing wrong with this practice, this is something that a buyer should be aware of - particularly as it may fade over time.
How to Care for Shell Jewelry
To keep shell jewelry looking great a simple care routine is all that is required:
- Regularly wipe the shell with a soft cloth, this will help to keep it free from dust and dirt that may spoil the shine of the shell.
- Avoid getting hairspray or perfume on the shell as this might mark it.
- Remember that shell is less robust than some gemstones and therefore might not be suited to heavy every day wear.
A piece of conch shell jewelry is a stunning alternative to gemstones and is bound to cause admiring glances.