Modern use of marine shells for jewelry

Mollusk shells have a long history of human usage for jewelry, from necklaces and bracelets to rings and earrings. Even today the natural elegance and unique pattern of some shells serve as original pieces of jewelry. For example – a modern ring made from two different species of gastropods.

Conus litteratus ring

The body of the ring is cut from a relatively small shell of the species Conus litteratus Linnaeus, 1758. The C. litteratus has a thick, heavy shell with a flat spire of up to 13 cm. The shell is cream with 2-3 axial bands of yellow or orange bands dotted with black, an interesting pattern which probably makes it appealing for jewelry makers. The species is common in shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific.

Conus litteratus (source:

Conus litteratus (source:


The cap of the ring is made from an operculum of the genus Turbo Linnaeus, 1758. The operculum was carefully glued on top of the C. litteratus spire to seem as one piece. The genus Turbo includes approximately 70 species from the Indo-West Pacific. The operculum of some Turbo species is sometimes known as “cat’s eyes” for its distinct color that makes it attractive for various decorative purposes.

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