Symbolism of the Sea: Meaning Behind Seashells in Jewelry Design

Symbolism of the Sea: Meaning Behind Seashells in Jewelry Design

Posted by John Rankin on

The ocean has always been a source of inspiration, mystery, and beauty. One of the most captivating elements from the sea that finds its way into our lives is the seashell. Seashells have been used in jewelry design for centuries, symbolizing various aspects of life, nature, and human emotion. In this article, we will explore the symbolism of seashells in jewelry design, focusing on the meanings behind shell earrings and seashell necklaces.

The Historical Significance of Seashells

Seashells have played a significant role in human culture and history. Ancient civilizations used shells as currency, tools, and ornaments. In many cultures, seashells were believed to have protective qualities and were often included in amulets and talismans.

Seashells as Currency

In ancient times, certain types of seashells, like cowries, were used as currency in various parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. They were valued for their beauty, durability, and rarity.

Seashells in Rituals and Ceremonies

Seashells were also used in rituals and ceremonies. In some cultures, they were believed to connect the physical and spiritual worlds. For example, the conch shell was often used in Hindu and Buddhist ceremonies as a symbol of divine sound.

Symbolism of the Sea: Meaning Behind Seashells in Jewelry Design

Seashells in Modern Jewelry Design

In contemporary jewelry design, seashells are cherished for their natural beauty and the symbolism they carry. Designers incorporate seashells into various types of jewelry, including earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings. Each type of seashell and its form carries its own unique meaning.

Shell Earrings

Shell earrings are a popular choice in jewelry design. They can be made from whole shells or fragments and are often paired with other materials like pearls, beads, and metals. The symbolism of shell earrings can vary depending on the type of shell used.

  • Cowrie Shell Earrings: Cowrie shells symbolize wealth and prosperity. Wearing cowrie shell earrings is believed to attract abundance and good fortune.
  • Scallop Shell Earrings: Scallop shells are associated with travel and pilgrimage. They symbolize the journey of life and spiritual growth.

Seashell Necklaces

Seashell necklaces are another favored piece of jewelry. They can be simple or elaborate, featuring single or multiple shells, and are often adorned with gemstones and other decorative elements.

  • Puka Shell Necklaces: Puka shells are small, naturally occurring shell fragments. They symbolize connection to the ocean and the flow of life.
  • Conch Shell Necklaces: Conch shells are large and spiral-shaped. They are symbols of power, protection, and spiritual awakening.

The Symbolism of Specific Seashells

Different types of seashells carry different meanings. Here are some of the most common seashells used in jewelry and their symbolic meanings.

Cowrie Shells

Cowrie shells have been used as currency and symbols of wealth in various cultures. They are also associated with femininity, fertility, and protection. In jewelry design, cowrie shells are often used to attract prosperity and safeguard the wearer from negative energies.

Scallop Shells

Scallop shells are linked to the concept of travel and pilgrimage. They are symbols of the journey of life and the idea of moving forward. Scallop shells are often used in jewelry to inspire personal growth and transformation.

Puka Shells

Puka shells are small, round shell fragments found on the beaches of Hawaii. They symbolize the connection to the ocean and the cyclical nature of life. Puka shell jewelry is often worn to promote a sense of peace and harmony with nature.

Conch Shells

Conch shells are large, spiral shells that have been used in religious ceremonies and rituals. They are symbols of power, protection, and spiritual awakening. Conch shell jewelry is believed to enhance the wearer's spiritual awareness and provide protection from harm.

How to Choose Seashell Jewelry

When selecting seashell jewelry, it's essential to consider the type of shell and its symbolic meaning. Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect piece:

Match the Symbolism to Your Intention

Think about what you want to achieve by wearing seashell jewelry. Are you looking for protection, prosperity, or spiritual growth? Choose a shell that aligns with your intention.

Consider the Design

Seashell jewelry comes in various designs, from simple and minimalist to intricate and elaborate. Consider your personal style and how the piece will complement your wardrobe.

Quality and Craftsmanship

Look for high-quality seashell jewelry that is well-crafted. Ensure that the shells are securely attached and that any additional materials, like metals and gemstones, are of good quality.

Caring for Your Seashell Jewelry

Caring for Your Seashell Jewelry

Seashell jewelry requires proper care to maintain its beauty and durability. Here are some tips for caring for your seashell pieces:

  • Avoid Water Exposure: Although seashells come from the ocean, exposure to water can damage the jewelry, especially if it contains metals or adhesives. Remove your seashell jewelry before swimming or bathing.
  • Store Properly: Store your seashell jewelry in a cool, dry place. Use a soft pouch or jewelry box to prevent scratches and damage.
  • Clean Gently: Clean your seashell jewelry with a soft, damp cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage the shells.


Seashells have a rich history and deep symbolism that make them a meaningful choice for jewelry design. Whether you choose shell earrings or a seashell necklace, each piece carries a unique story and significance. By understanding the meanings behind different types of seashells, you can select jewelry that resonates with your personal journey and intentions.

Seashell jewelry not only enhances your style but also connects you to the beauty and mystery of the ocean. So, the next time you wear a piece of seashell jewelry, remember the rich symbolism it carries and the natural wonder it represents.

Shop Jewelry Made By Me for Your Seashell Jewelry Needs

Discover the perfect piece of seashell jewelry that speaks to your soul at Jewelry Made By Me. Our carefully curated collection features beautifully crafted earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, each adorned with the natural elegance of seashells. Whether you're looking for a symbol of prosperity, protection, or a connection to the ocean, our selection offers a variety of designs to match your intentions and style. Don't miss out on adding these unique, meaningful accessories to your collection. Visit Jewelry Made By Me today and find the seashell jewelry that resonates with you.

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