Why Are You Interested In Seashells?

When I began writing this blog about seashells I did so hoping to sell paper products containing my seashell photography, like the card below. I lived in New Hampshire at the time, which is funny because my shells had been collected when I lived in Florida. But my Zazzle business, and especially my seashell and beach-related store, needed promoting and I figured a blog was the way to go. What I discovered right away was that my blog was turning into something else.

In the beginning I wanted to promote my store.

The blog quickly became a learning experience.

People reading my blog wanted information about seashells. At the time I knew very little about the shells I had randomly collected while living in Florida. Now, it was time to learn. For some reason I had never thought much about how those empty shells got there or where they came from. The mollusks, or sea snails, which made them were amazing creatures. I wanted to share what I learned with others who wanted to know.

Big horse conch seashells found locally
Two horse conch shells and Skittle the cat

A move back south made writing easier.

The first years of writing were spent in the North, far from tropical beaches, but now that I am once again in Florida, writing has become easier. It’s always better when you have access to the subject. With the purchase of our boat, I have even better access to remote spots where I may come across fun nature photos to share. And I have my camera with me in the form of the iPhone now too.

shells in the sand
The wind was covering, or maybe uncovering, shells along the beach

Discovering local species is most exciting.

Starfish and sand dollars were my first focus because it was easy to find information about them, and I knew what they were called! It’s been a journey, and I’ve made mistakes along the way, but my writing has improved and so has my knowledge of marine snails and the homes they carry on their backs.

Large living tulip shell with Mollusk inside, found in the backwaters of the Indian River in New Smyrna Beach / Edgewater area
My guesstimate at the size of this living tulip is 7 inches in length. It’s a biggie!

Getting out in the Florida wilderness.

Now I would say that I am interested in shells because their lives fascinate me. Sizes, shapes and colors of seashells vary because of the snail which made them. I am lucky enough to get to see those living creatures now and then and share photos here on my blog. Usually I have far too many photos to deal with and not enough time to write, but it’s fun. I hope my readers can learn something which makes them appreciate the beauty of shells.

The Secret to Collecting Seashells You Will Want to Keep

collecting seashellsBeaches everywhere have sea life and seashells, but some beaches are better for collecting seashells than others.

The secret to collecting seashells you will want to keep, and display, is twofold. First, figure out what it is you are looking for, in general. Do you want a great big fabulous shell for the coffee table or mantle? Or, are you looking for a bunch of shells to use in a craft project? Maybe you dream of finding a whole sand dollar, or you need more cockle shells for a picture frame.

There are shells that are very common and others that are rare finds. Some people search for years for that special junonia or lion’s paw or other coveted shell. Every vacation to the tropics is partially spent eyeing the beach sand and snorkeling in hopes of getting lucky.

The shell must not be occupied, which further narrows down the availability.  Taking seashells that are inhabited is usually against the law. Often empty shells become a home to hermit crabs or some other sea creatures which move in after the mollusk dies. You can’t collect those either.

various Florida seashells
Seashells collected from Ponce Inlet beach

Obviously if you want to collect special shells, sand dollars, starfish and sea urchins, you should know where to go to find them. There are no guarantees, but it’s a good idea to search where there is a greater possibility of success.  Know the laws of the area before you collect anything.

Don’t spend all your time searching at the waters edge. Shells wash up with the tide, so check out the dune area for shells left behind after high tide.

cone shells
Olive Shells

Do your research when planning a vacation, or traveling to a nearby beach. The west coast of Florida is known for it’s wonderful beachcombing opportunities. The Keys also have an abundance of shells, and the water is so clear that it may be the perfect place to easily find a beautiful specimen.

Don’t overlook the small shells either.  They can be quite striking as well. Even bits and pieces that belonged to large shells are interesting finds. It’s best to just enjoy the variety and hope for something extraordinary. That’s the fun of shelling.

Collecting and Buying Real Sea Glass

sea glassCollecting your own sea glass assures you it’s real, but buying on line may give you pause. Is that necklace (with the hefty price tag) made of the real thing?

I may have come across sea glass during my treks to the ocean, but I never paid much attention to it. The kids and I collected seashells only.  Jelly fish and horseshoe crabs that had washed up on the beach were interesting, but I don’t recall finding any pretty, worn glass.   But there are collectors of sea glass, and they know what to look for.  Just like seashells, certain ones (colors) are rare, and therefore demand a higher price. Continue reading “Collecting and Buying Real Sea Glass”

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