Throughout human history, shells have played an important part in all coastal cultures. They have been used as money, jewelry, and decoration. And while we may not use them for cash anymore, after thousands of years the seashell’s ornamentation and decoration game is still strong.
In today’s interior game, the capiz shell from the Philippines pretty much rules the roost. Their delightful translucence lends them to lighting, like the pretty blue chandelier I used in my Galveston beach house project (above), but also to things as disparate as wallpaper and furniture, like the inlay on the gorgeously glam wing chair from Bernhardt (below).
Mother of Pearl inlaid furniture is a staple from Morocco, India, and the Philippines, and adds an exotic flair to any decor. Mother of Pearl (or MOP, as it’s called in the industry) is a catchall term for shell that produces nacreous, shiny inner layer, not just pearl oysters.
Another shell popular for home decor is the pen shell. It’s been used on furniture and accessories for hundreds of years, but is plentiful, so in the 21st century has replaced endangered tortoise shells in the home furnishings world.
I’ve concentrated on the interior decorative uses of shells, but I didn’t want to forget seashell’s use in exquisite jewelry. I wouldn’t mind receiving this stunning Cowrie shell and gold mid-century Verdura Turtle pin as a gift!
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s under-the-sea decorating post!