Jewelry Made From Shells: Keep a Piece of the Sea

Small seashell necklace draped over wood

Artisans who make jewelry using sea shells find their inspiration in nature. Wearing a jewelry creation that is fashioned from sea shells is a way to express your love for the ocean.

About Sea Shell Jewelry

When you begin to shop for jewelry made out of shells, you may be surprised at how many artisans utilize these perfect shapes in their jewelry designs. Many jewelry artists choose to use regional seashells, while others take advantage of seashell wholesalers who provide seashells from all over the world. Some jewelry pieces are made up entirely of sea shells, and others use parts of shells to create beautiful designs. Pieces can range from bracelets and necklaces to earrings and pendants.

One way that some artisans enhance their jewelry creations is to trim the shells with either 14KT gold or sterling silver. Bonnet shells are often trimmed along the outer edges to highlight the bonnet part of the shell. Conical shells are a natural choice for this type of jewelry enhancement. The edges of the shells are encased with a layer of gold or silver and the natural spirals are ideal for filling with gold or silver.

Types of Seashells

There are several kinds of seashells that are most suited for shell jewelry. Even some of the sea creatures such as sand dollars, starfish, and seahorses are used in jewelry designs. Artists often choose conical, puka, bonnet, and other seashells when creating jewelry pieces.

  • Conical Shells: Conical shells are popular for jewelry, especially as a feature or centerpiece. These shells are naturally colorful and have an almost geometric pattern design as well as a spiral effect that is very pleasing for a piece of jewelry. Colorful conical shells are created by a cone-shaped sea urchin species known as "conus."
  • Puka Shells: For decades, the most popular seashell used to make jewelry has been the puka shell. Puka shell necklaces are popular beach souvenirs, and they symbolize beach vacations for many people. Typically, puka shells can be any kind of shell with a hole in the center, since the word "puka" means "hole" in Hawaiian. These days, they are often machined to facilitate stringing.
  • Abalone Shells: Colorful abalone shells are used either in whole pieces or carved in shapes that are used for inlay in various pieces of jewelry. Abalone has a great iridescent color and adds a desirable visual appeal to just about any jewelry design.

Examples of Artisans Who Make Jewelry Using Sea Shells

There are many talented artisans creating unique sea shell jewelry. You may even have some in your area. You can often find a wide range of artisans at various craft and jewelry shows. Here are some jewelry artists who make exciting pieces:

  • Gold Dipped Shells by Sasha Lickle: Artisan Sasha Lickle, a Florida native, dips some of her creations in gold, such as a seahorse gold-dipped necklace. The seahorse is used as a pendant with a gold-filled chain necklace. The gold helps preserve the seahorse while also giving it more durability and strength.
  • Seaphemera Designs: Seaphermera features handmade necklaces, pendants, and earrings, many of which combine shells with other materials, such as precious metals, wood, pearls, and gemstones. Some pieces are simple designs that are wire wrapped, while others are colorful shells strung on a curled piece of copper. If you're seeking a unique piece of jewelry, you're sure to find an attractive one here.

Unique Designs

The appeal of seashell jewelry is far-reaching and impacts fashion with textures, colors, and designs. You can find many unique designs by artisans who make jewelry using sea shells when you take a little time to shop around.

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Jewelry Made From Shells: Keep a Piece of the Sea