No, not quite! Many of our Native American artists use a type of sea shell called “spiny oyster shell” also known as “spondylus.” Archaeologists have found evidence for jewelry being made from the shell as early as the Neolithic period, 5000 years ago. The shell comes in a variety of colors, ranging from red, purple, orange and yellow. In jewelry, we can distinguish the shell from other stones (as well as the commonly confused coral) by the white variation found throughout.
Featured above are just a few of our very popular contemporary artists who frequently use the beautiful shell: Squash blossom earrings by Tammy Nelson, Turquoise and spiny shell necklace by Cheryl Yestewa, Square sterling silver and spiny shell earrings & turquoise and spiny cuff by Mike Bird-Romero, and Sterling silver and spiny cuff by Harry Begay.