About the Shells

Sunrise Shell ~ Langford's Pecten

Sunrise shells are an extremely rare and sacred shell, containing every color of the spectrum, but usually occur in yellow, orange, and red. They are one of the most treasured and colorful shell found on the beaches of Hawaii. These shells were once the exclusive property of the Hawaiian royalty, truly a wondrous jewel of the sea. They get their name Sunrise shells because of their beautiful color, echoing the sky in a magnificent Hawaii sunrise. They are often found at first light on the beach, when they glow under the luminescent clouds. They range in size from a dime to a silver dollar. Sunrises are a rare delight and offer their wearers protection and power that goes back thousands of years in Hawaii's rich history.


Kahelelani Shell ~ Leptothyra Verruca

The kahelelani shell is one of the most sought after of the rare Niihau and Kauaian shells. It is the smallest and therefore the most difficult to collect and sew. The Hawaiians were aware of the shells multilayer meanings; for they were hyper aware of their environment and saw in the kahelelani shells a design that represented the spinning cosmos. It is through science that we can literally see a galaxy, a fern tendril, a spinning double helix, a DNA strand, or a spiraling pattern of a shell and see the similarities. This sacred spiral pattern found on the shells were compared by Hawaiians to a "Spiralway or Pathway to Heaven" and only the highest members of their society, such as Ali'i and kahuna could wear these shells. Kahelelanis offer their wearers a direct connection to the people of Hawaii, their beautiful islands, and to the universe that we all share.


Cowry Shell ~ Cypraea 

Cowry shells have been around for centuries and are revered symbols of feminine power. They can be found in many different sizes, colors, and textures all over the world. History records the use of cowries for currency, ornamentation, good luck and fertility charms, and as ceremonial or religious objects. In the Persian Gulf and Pacific Oceans, seafarers of old would adorn their vessels with cowries in order to call upon the ocean spirits, looking for protection from the Goddess of the Sea. The women of Roman Pompeii wore cowry shells to preserve fertility, and in many pacific islands, the wearing of golden cowries symbolized status and rank. This is a powerful shell charged with centuries of female energy, making it the perfect charm for any woman.


Momi Shell ~ Euplica varians

The true Hawaiian name for these intricate, tiny shells is momi o kai, which translates to "pearl of the sea." 
Momi shells can have many different variations in patterns and colors, from white to dark brown or almost black. The most traditional use of these shells in Hawaii's history has been to create wedding leis, as they have the special tone and feeling of ivory or pearls. A white momi shell necklace is often worn by the bride to be, in honor of her purity and beauty. 


Puka Shell ~ Conus Roding   

The Hawaiian word puka translates to "hole" as each shell has its own unique hole in the center, carved out naturally by the ocean. Puka shells are typically white in color, but can also be found in many other colors, including stripes. Hawaiians typically give puka necklaces to wish the recipient goodwill or good luck. If given to a sailor, a puka necklace is supposed to help bring him home safely. Puka shells offer their wearers the good intent and well wishes of the person who has given them.