Commonly known as an Arab Cowrie, these shells are more correctly described as coming from the Aribica group found in Indo-pacific waters.
All species of Cowrie shells are egg shaped and have a shiny porcelain like appearance, making them popular for jewellery and decorative purposes. Depending on species Shells can vary size from just a few millimetres to up to 15cm in the case of Tiger Cowrie.
Mauritia arabica distribution covers a large area and is widespread from the Indo-West Pacific, from East and South Africa, to the eastern Polynesia. It spreads north to Japan and south to New South Wales, Australia.
Cowrie Shells In History: Cowrie shells have been viewed as symbols of womanhood, fertility and wealth. Small cowrie shells have also been used by many societies as currency and gaming counters.
Mauritia arabica is collected for food by locals in many areas. The shell is commonly used in shellcraft
On a practical note shells were used for stretching the heels of socks in order that holes could be darned and I actually remember my grand mother using one for the exact purpose.
Classification (Typically): Cypraea aribica Linne
Price is per shell
Shell Sizes: Approx 4.5 to 6.5cm
It is a natural product so may have nicks, chips and scratches.
With our increasingly sophisticated lifestyles aided by modern technology we are forging an ever growing demand on our fragile world's natural resources. Alongside our desire to learn about and collect natural objects, it is essential not to lose sight of our mandate to manage and care for all our natural wonders - seashells are by no means the least of them.
The biggest threat to seashells is the destruction of habitat, with pollution being the number one killer. We dump vast quantities of sewage, rubbish and industrial waste into our oceans. Tough controls are required if we are to sustain our natural marine resources for future generations.
In recent years a convention on international endangered species (CITES) was formed. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants (Including marine life) does not threaten their survival.
Our suppliers take pride in recycling over 99% of their shell products from audited, sustainable fishing activities. It is their mandate to only work with responsible sources and through understanding and knowledge bring shells to today's generation without endangering species for generations to come.