Monday, May 19, 2008

A Shell of an Idea – Shell Necklace & Antique Pink Shell Carved Cameo

I had absolutely no intention of making a “theme style necklace” but, when I came across these lovely shell beads early in the spring, I was compelled to buy them. In the back of my mind, I had mentally saved an interior design idea that I thought would have been gorgeous for a small room (perhaps a powder room). That design inspiration was to cover the walls in seashells creating a beautiful mosaic-like pattern everywhere. Probably totally impractical (especially if you have young children – can’t you just see the little munchkins trying to pick them off the walls) but, truly a colorful & textural feast for the eyes!

My fascination with seashells probably started, like most of us, in childhood at the beach. Growing up in Louisiana we tended to go to Galveston for sun & sand. Not a particularly good place to find “pretty” seashells. However, on one occasion, we ventured to Florida for a beach respite and I could not believe all the wonderful colors & shapes available – just ripe for the picking!

As an adult, my hubby and I spent every summer for 10 years in Nantucket. It was in Nantucket, that I first discovered the little seed of an idea that grew into the full blown notion of seashell mosaic walls – The Sailor’s Valentines. It was the organized juxtaposition of shells that caught my eye. In further travels and studies, I realized that this type of shell mosaic design has been used for many years and is fairly common in little grottos throughout Europe.

Interesting, that the things that amused us as children, very often continue to do so as an adult. My only concession to picking up pretty shells on the beach was the magnitude and scope of what to do with them as an adult. I guess I have never let go of that seashell mosaic folly either. I have been trying to think of an interesting design idea for one of the two powder rooms in my home. I wonder if my husband had the same fascination with shells as a child!

Clearly, this stunning shell necklace is just another interpretation of a well loved idea. Pink & creamy white shell beads in all different shapes and sizes are clustered together with the more recognizable shells from the ocean. Rhodochrosite and jumbo Swarovski pearls in beautiful pink/peach colors lend an elegant addition to the necklace. The piece de resistance is the lovely antique carved pink shell cameo set in a 10k gold bezel. The perfect “statement necklace” for a seaside garden soiree.