Nacre and Shell characteristics
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Nacre and Shell characteristics

Nacre, history and healing properties

Earrings with nacre

The shell is the tough external part that some sea animals own. The internal part is the mother of pearl. It is often smooth and polished with iridescent gleams.

A lot of writers separate the shell and the mother of pearl. However, it is the same material even if the pearl is a defensive reaction of some mollusks. It is therefore rare and it has a different story.

The shell is made of nacre. Shells are chemically similar in spite of their physical differences. They are composed of two elements: an organic matrix made of proteins and an inorganic deposit of carbonate limestone.

Stories, beliefs and legends about the nacre

Since the beginning of life, men have always been fascinated and attracted by shells because of its iridescent colors, its shapes and its symbol between earth and sea.
Shells were used to make a lot of different jewels, in decoration, inlays, buttons, lipstick, music instruments, money…

Shells were used as money all around the world, more especially in the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, in North America, in Africa and in the Caribbean. They could be exchanged kilometers from their original location and would even be more expensive when it was among people living far from the coast.

Since the dawn of time, shells have been used as tools because of their different shapes, their resistance, and the easiness to carve them giving them a precise and useful shape. Some have a natural bowl shape to eat. When they were big enough, they were even used as a bath tub or as baptismal fonts. When they are smaller, such as mussel shells, they were used as spoons. Some of them have a very cutting edge and were used as knives, saws etc…

history and healing properties of nacre

Necklace with nacre

The shells were also used to play music, and more particularly as a wind instrument. Most often, it is the top of the shell of big sea snails that are cut and carved.

The shell is omnipresent in man history and we can only give a few examples of its presence in the different cultures of the world.

Shells were sketched by the first Christians as a symbol of resurrection.
The scallops are considered by the first Christians as a symbol of Saint Jacques, one of the twelve apostles, which grave would be found in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Nacre was often linked to mother love due to its milky and soft color. For catholics, it was therefore often linked to mother Mary. This is why a lot of rosaries are made of this material.

North American tribes (such as the algonquins) would use shells to weave wampum. They are sacred objects for rituals made of shell. It was a strand of pearls that could be used as a belt, a necklace, a gift or money. It was quite common for them to use these shells to decorate their hair.
The Mayas would also use nacre to make dental implants.

Shells are very present in Hinduism and more particularly the conch. It is one of the eight symbols of Buddhism, or Ashtamangala. The dextrorotatory white conch is the heroes trumpet in the epic literature. The Panchajanya conch is one of the accessories of the god Vishnou representing the creation of the world coming from the primordial ocean.

nacre, history and healing properties

Earrings with nacre

In Buddhism, the conch symbolizes the voice of Buddha and its teaching.

The Australian aborigines used a shell in the shape of a bowl that they would call Melo melo on their boats.

In the Caribbean Santeria, shells are used for divination.

Nowadays, shells are used in treatments for the body. Each shell has its own healing properties. You can find them in aromatherapy and in reiki.
They are used for divination, each species having their own symbols and messages.

Nacre is the symbol for the 42th anniversary.

Mines: shells are present everywhere but more specific specimens can be found in Madagascar, China, Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica and Australia.

Healing properties of nacre

  • Shells would have regenerative properties for bones. They are made of elements that can intervene in the restructuration process and can stimulate the skin.
  • It is the symbol of birth and life
  • They would improve digestion and kidneys.
  • It would help against arthritis, rheumatism and lymphatic problems.
  • They would help women to get pregnant. It would protect the fetus in its development.

/!\ Please note that all healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions.

Morning star, oriental earrings in sterling silver and nacre
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Cosmos, innocence flower bracelet in sterling silver and nacre
US $104.00
Nacre rain, bib necklace, anklet, long wrap bracelet
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Nacre, sterling silver mother of pearl necklace
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Amalys, butterfly necklace in sterling silver, nacre pearls and chalcedony
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Shell, memories of Mexican pacific pendant in sterling silver
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Geisha, fan earrings in sterling silver and nacre
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Moon drops, nacre sterling silver earrings
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Shiro, circles earrings in sterling silver and nacre
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