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 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”.