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This page: Shells 1
porcelain "money"   

No matter valuable shells are, collecting shells at the edge of the shore is a sheer pleasure; there are some very tiny pretty and they will enjoy your children or grand children. Always have a small plastic pocket with you.
It's a true pleasure to seek small shells like those of the photograph, but to have some more beautiful, you will hardly have other choice but going in the stores. Below, you will find a first regular selection. It is necessary to add the nautilus to it, now very widespread. See also lagoon life.

The nautilus
,  as for numerous marine animals, is remained almost unchanged during million of years. See also "surprising oceanic life" in addition for this curious animal, strongly linked to the moon.

One finds small works rather complete on the subject ( the shells. On the spot, the choice is more significant and is more specific.

Here a small selection, but the the choice is vast. (French/English popular names) :

1 harpe, 2 troca nacrier (cleaned with acid), 3 porcelain currency, 4 textile cone 5 araignée, ptérocère (spider).

6 porcelain, 7 white porcelain, 8 porcelain currency, 9 porcelain, 10 porcelain head of snake (small).

11 térèbre (terebrate?), 12 porcelain mappa, 13 cone (general?) 14 porcelain head of snake (small).

15 murex 16 porcelain tiger, 17 marbled cone, 18 porcelain mole.

19 small murex root 20 nacre (mother-of-pearl ?), bivalvular containing an olive 21 and one small porcelain deer 22,  23 murex.  

Both A few patterns and colors for cones and other shells. See also risks and dangers about these animals.

a "casque" in French (helmet). 1,7 kg, size 24, 17, 16 cm;  A beautiful piece, whose colour has vanished 40 years later. Collectors hide their best. Here in its natural position  Click to see under.

Stamps from New Caledonia(cones)

geographic cone

A good many shells protetct themselves being locked up behind a cornea cover ; this one is  fixed on their foot (the part on which they rest to move, like snail, their remote cousin).  Collectors make a point of having the cover. A pretty murex “comb of Venus” without its cover is depreciated.

Some Murex, of wich the more common. Sizes can vay from a few centimeters to 15 / 20 cm
black murex (stamps from new Caledonia). Générally small.


Venus comb


The troca
is normally striated with orange, like the bands of the Nautile (higher, on the left). Here, it was cleaned with an acid to reveal the mother-of-pearl of which it is massively made up.

With the mother-of-pearl (No 20 above, with two small shells inside), the Troca has been the object of an intensive trade, for its shell and also for the colour crimson that the animal restitutes, and which was very appreciated by the ecclesiastical. At a time of the beaming Christendom, that involved a strong consumption.

The natives are rather fond of this of this species, but to eating them..
Porcelains. These shells are so beautiful that many people doubt of their animal origin and wonder rather about a possible artistic production of the man. Their "porcelain" name, completely justified, adds to confusion. The doubt is thus completely legitimate and I acknowledge to have been occasionaly myself very dubitative. At a time of a diving near the reef, in only two or three meters of water, three white traces drew my attention. I was naturally almost “the nose on them”, if not I would not have seen anything. It was a group of three white, extremely rare porcelains in New Caledonia, covered almost completely by their fine coat beige-greyish, which let appear only three narrow stripes on their back. I never see another one, and so didn't my friends. Alive animals (stamps of New Caledonia, aquarium of Noumea, 1980).

Dolium, the animal is out its shell.

The shell of the mine is 12 cm length.

Porcelain.  Its “coat” get out by by the notched slit which is at the lower part, and goes up partially bond to its sides (yellow and yellow orange part)

Niger Porcelain (from English nigger, negro, black).


Left hand, a private recollection.
The two large shells of the bas are commonly called "casques" in french (helmets); some other large shells are not shown here, such as conches, in which tahitians blow to produce a sound.

Largest ones are certainly those known for their use at the entry of the churches, because they contain the holy  water, (eau bénite), that gave them their name in French (bénitiers in Enlish= stoups). It was not advised to put a side foot or a hand in

Very big ones have almost disappeared. This shell which seems rather rough is an imposing mass of nacre, having learned that while visiting a lapidary, around Noumea, towards the Mont Dore,   which produces large pearl objects, of which this egg that was offered to me by Patricia, a friend of Noumea.
Originally consumed by the native clams are now farmed for their marketing: they adorn the exotic aquariums.

If you ever go and stay on an islet, scrape the sand 10 cm deep, close to the sea, and you could possibly get some delicious "grisettes" (cockles). It's the good practice of a Polynesian woman. We did it and had a nice barbecue.

Giving life to a shell window collection with   woden adorned fishes, postcards, and a sheet of paper coated with sand (decoration leisure shops)

Stamps from New Caledonia : two Strombus

Shells  2  extraordinary collection and geisha of shells

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