Belle Shells

Even those who live far from any beach have a fresh appreciation for both the beauty and the bounty of the sea after witnessing the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. My heart goes out to those directly affected by the spill. Perhaps there is no better time than this summer to celebrate the sea by wearing some of its gifts – not only perennially popular pearls, but also the more affordable symbol of summers by the sea – seashells.

Shells are chic as a design element of jewelry this summer, and no wonder – with their myriad shapes and textures they provide not only inspiration but also the raw materials for jewelry designs. The June 2010 issue of Elle magazine features shell jewelry adorning khaki, camouflage and other military-inspired looks. The sheer variety of the jewelry is delightful. Among the featured jewelry in Elle:

Long seashell necklaces and what appears to be a shell charm bracelet, all by Erickson Beamon, accompany the above look, which combines a Valentino embroidered silk tunic with a D&G studded suede skirt.

What appears to be a leather, silk cord and shell necklace and shell bracelet by Erickson Beamon  accompany a silk dress from Ports 1961 by Tia Cibani.

A large solo shell makes a gorgeous earring in the third photo, featuring earrings by Celestina accompanying a “destroyed” cotton tee shirt by Balmain.

Here’s what the June 2010 issue of Allure magazine says about “Shells and Silver”:

Right now, the best jewelry feels plucked from the beach. There are necklaces, rings, and cuffs . . . adorned with cowrie shells, coral, stones, or even bits of wood. (R. J. Graziano and H&M are all over this trend.) And they look especially great when worn with hand-tooled silver pieces that conjure up exotic, sun-soaked lands on the far side of the Pacific.

Among the looks accompanying the Allure article is this silk dress and calfskin-and-cowrie shell belt by 3.1 Phillip Lim, worn with a pewter cuff from Ben-Amun by Isaac Manevitz and a silver plate cuff by Philippe Audibert.

Incidentally, should you think that shell jewelry is strictly tourist fare, think again. The shell jewelry pictured above ranges in price from $605 to $978, with some items noted “price upon request.” Shells can rightfully be incorporated into some very precious jewelry indeed.


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