Shells, intricate ornaments from of the sea.
Colours and patterns are amazing;
Listen to the sound of the sea...
The term seashell usually refers to the exoskeleton of an invertebrate (an animal without a backbone). Most shells that are found on beaches are the shells of marine molluscs partly because many of these shells endure better than other seashells.
Seashells have been used by humans for many different purposes throughout history and pre-history.
Shell ornaments were very common during the Upper Paleolithic, from 50–40,000 years ago onwards, when they spread with modern humans to Europe and Asia.
A sailor's valentine is a form of shell craft, a type of mostly antique souvenir, or sentimental gift made using large numbers of small seashells. These were originally made between 1830 and 1890 and they were designed to be brought home from a sailor's voyage at sea and given to the sailor's loved one. Sailor valentines are typically octagonal, glass fronted, hinged wooden boxes ranging from 8" to 15" in width, displaying intricate symmetrical designs composed entirely of small sea shells of various colours glued onto a backing. Patterns often feature a center piece such as a compass rose or a heart design, hence the name, and in some cases the small shells are used to spell out a sentimental message.
Although the name seems to suggest that the sailors themselves made these objects, a large number of them originated in the island of Barbados, which was an important seaport during this period. Historians believe that the women there made the valentines using local shells, or in some cases using shells imported from Indonesia, and then the finished products were sold to the sailors.
Many think it is kitsch, but I think they have a place in a whimsical way to decorate where appropriate.
©Pictures 1-4 from my garden Ts
(other pictures from Wikipedia)