The Broken Shell Collective

18 May 2010

Whenever I go to a beach, I make it a point to take some time to scour the beach for seashells. But not just any kind of seashell, I pick up only interestingly-colored broken ones. Somehow I cannot bear to pick up whole shells because I feel like I am robbing little sea creatures (hermit crabs and such) of potential homes. Yes, I am caring like that. Hahaha.

Over the years I’ve collected quite a lot of these beautiful broken shells which I store in containers (only some are properly labeled as shown below). I unearthed some of these containers and figured I should do what I had originally planned for them as I picked them up off the coastlines: make them into accessories. One of the reasons why I like broken shells is that most of them already have their edges worn and have holes where I could thread a jump ring or chain through them without having to use a small jewelry drill (which I still do not own). I picked out a few shells and made them into pendants.

At the beach where the shells are all wet, they’re very pretty but when they dry up, they usually become dull and not so pretty anymore. To give them that shiny wet look again, I gave the shells a coat of clear lacquer (clear nail polish, in this case). After letting them dry, I took out my accessory-making stash (leather string, clasps and jump rings) and made necklaces.

Before coating with clear lacquer

After coating. See how shiny they are now? 😀


Here are the finished products. They’re very simple, really.  The brass wire connecting the two shells at the leftmost necklace is actually an earring hook I broke earlier. I couldn’t figure out a nice way of setting this triangular piece without covering up the beautiful spiral ridges, so it’ll have to wait until then.

The middle one is actually a coral. At the backside it has large grains of sand lodged in its pores. I love the color of that one with the orange peaks. 🙂

I wanted to make these two into earrings, but I couldn’t find similar shells that are the same size. So I combined them in one necklace instead.

I imagine these could be bought in those little stands at a beach front. I don’t have to buy them now 😀



  1. […] night I put on nail polish. This morning I chipped it. I was making necklaces and by the time I finished my manicure is ruined. Hahahaha. Well, not that I really made a fuss […]

  2. They look nice! I brought back a couple of shells from Palawan; I was planning to ask you how to make them into necklaces. But then forgot all about asking you, and then here I am reading your blog and YEY!!!the answer’s right here. Haha!

    How did you drill a hole in the coral without breaking it, though?

    • LOL I still have a ton of shells (from many years ago) that haven’t been transformed into pendants yet.
      I didn’t drill any holes, it already had some. That’s one of the reasons why I pick up worn down broken shells because most of them have holes already. I think I mentioned that in the post (unsure)

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