Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bead Spotlight: Cowry Shells

cowrie spiral

With all the hundreds of different types of seashells in the world, it’s interesting that only a few of them really stand out in our imaginations. It’s possible that these favorite seashells have become icons of the ocean because they are so beautiful, or because they are often found in very beautiful places. Some of these celebrity shells include the scallop, and the conch. And then there is the cowry shell.

Although they can be found in an array of sizes shapes and colors, it is the unique shape that makes the cowry so special. With it’s rounded back and flat, lipped bottom, it looks almost like a folded pastry or a mermaid’s coin purse. Many cultures throughout history believed that the cowry shell was a symbol of womanhood, and used cowry shells as charms to promote fertility.

One of the most traditional ways to use cowries in jewelry is to include them in hemp macramé jewelry with other natural beads and shells. Necklaces and bracelets made in this style have a carefree quality that makes them ideal for summer wear. They seem to say “vacation time”.

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading


  1. Hmmmmm ... Sea shells. This wouldn't have anything to do with an EBW challenge piece, would it?

  2. A-ha! Actually, it doesn't but I suppose it's very timely, isn't it? I'm looking forward to seeing the finished mosaic - it's going to be a gorgeous collection!

  3. I am thrilled to be featured along side such talent!

    Thanks Mortira!!

  4. Thank you so much for featuring my Brooklyn Chick earrings! I love cowrie shells!

  5. Wow! Thanks so much for featuring my work here! Coincidence or not - that piece sold today!! That was one of my very first listings on Etsy, and I'm happy someone finally just had to have it. :P
    Thanks again, lovely blog!


  6. Congratulations Monica! That's the best part about doing features - helping items find the right owner!


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