Monday, 25 March 2013

Monday; from the sea;

Shells, intricate ornaments from of the sea.

Colours and patterns are amazing;

Listen to the sound of the sea...

A sea shell, is a hard, protective outer layer created by an animal that lives in the sea. The shell is part of the body of the animal. Empty seashells are often  washed up on beaches. The shells are empty because the animal has died and the soft parts have been eaten by another animal or have rotted out.

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 These were originally made between 1830 and 1890 and they were designed to be brought home from a sailor's voyage at sea and given to the sailor's loved one.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)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I had two comments showing so I deleted one and now there are none. I really like you collection of shells. The frame is really artistic in nature as it is so well done. I liked the old weathered one in the first photo. It reminds me of a part of an antique machine.

    2. Larry, I think one of the wonders of nature.

  2. Beautiful shells, but we dont get anything like those on the beaches here.

    1. Fun collecting, them looking for the best ones. Marilyn in North Queensland, some beaches are made up of tiny shells. One sinks ankle deep when walking on them. They are very intricate and so very small,one does not know which ones to take!

  3. These are beautiful. I enjoyed the history about the ladies in Barbados making such beautiful items and selling them to the sailors.

    Kathy M.

  4. Hi Kathy, thank you for enjoying the post.