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Shells: Jewels from the Sea

Shells litter the beaches of every continent on our planet. They are durable enough to be used as building material, but they are so compelling that societies have featured their motifs in religion, art, and architecture. Many varieties of shellfish have the additional virtue of being delicious!

Whether your interest in shells is that of an artist, historian, philosopher, or chef, let these selected resources guide you to a greater understanding of these jewels of the sea.

In the Library

Art from Rocks and Shells: With Projects Using Pebbles, Feathers, Flotsam, and Jetsam. Chapman, Gillian.
Provides instructions for making mosaics, board games, masks, collages, and other craft projects from found objects and from natural items.

The Collector's Encyclopedia of Shells. Dance, S. Peter, editor.
Dance served as zoologist for the British Museum, the Manchester Museum, and the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.

The Complete Collector's Guide to Shells & Shelling: Sea Shells from the Waters of North American Atlantic and Pacific Oceans... Romashko, Sandra.
"All beginning or seasoned shell collectors will find this is the most useful handbook available on seashells of the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts of North America, and the coasts of the Bahamas, the Caribbean, the West Indies, and Hawaii. In color photos, more than 450 shells are identified by description, habitat, collecting details, range, and dollar value. Scientific names listed are the latest corrections or renamings by conchologists."

The Compleat Clammer. Reaske, Christopher Russell.
For a seaside vacation, consider taking along this guide to gathering and preparing oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops.

Familiar Seashells. Rehder, Harald Alfred.
This guide from the Audubon Society is light enough to take on vacation, yet it is filled with detailed descriptions and close-up photographs of the 80 most common seashells in North America.

The Seas and Their Shells: A Collector's Guide to the Seashells of the World. Angeletti, Sergio.
Recommended as an identification resource by the Smithsonian Institution.

Shells: Treasures of the Sea. Hill, Leonard.
A book for shell enthusiasts. More than 300 color photographs showing shells in their natural state and as decorations for humans. The impressive photos are accompanied by a scientific yet accessible text.

On the Web

All About Seashells
"So you're interested in Seashells. You're planning a trip to Florida and want to know the best places to find them, or you've just come home to find the odor in your bag getting stronger. Find in information you need from how to find seashells, how to clean them, and what to do with them next."
Use shells to decorate Christmas trees in the Florida style, make a sand dollar ornament, shell wind chimes, a shell angel, and a sand and shell picture.

Beachcomber Wreath
Making a beautiful shell wreath is simple to do and rewarding.

Conchology - The Art and Science of Nature
Includes hundreds of shell images arranged taxanomically with integrated links to some of the best Internet image sites, slide shows, quizzes, games, and links to a weath of information about conchology and shells for amateur collectors, artists and scientists.

Identification Guide to Seashells, Sealife, Seafans and More
"This guide is devoted to help in identifying the many seashells and other sealife that can be found along the shore. From seashells to sanddollars to starfish and more. With so much of the Earth covered by water it would be impossible to include all items that could be found but most people should be able to find what they are looking for."

Man and Mollusc
A site dedicated to exploring the uses of molluscs by man through the ages. Includes kids' pages and a teacher's zone.