Jewels of the Sea

Mollusks Aren’t the Only Ones Who Find Value in Their Portable Homes; Collectors Treasure Seashells as Works of Natural Art
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Ellie Rowe’s home near Wabasso Beach contains a beautiful display of her late father’s shell collection.


Imagine walking along the beach and seeing shark eyes, tulips, lions’ paws, zebra arks, turbans, sundials, coffee bean trivias, Scotch bonnets and jewel boxes.  

What kind of trip down the rabbit hole is this?  

It’s actually just another day on a Florida beach, because those are all names given to types of seashells. The curious names convey something of the color and variety of the shells and the sense of wonder they spark. For many Vero Beach residents and visitors, collecting favorite seashells is an enjoyable aspect of time spent at the ocean. And having some seashells in the home adds to a coastal atmosphere.  

Where do seashells come from? How are their many varieties categorized? What roles have they played in history and culture? And why are they so beloved?