- Material: 100% sterling silver
- Plating: Pure silver (for added brightness)
- Finish: Polished
- Almost 3/4 inch tall excluding hanger x 1/2 inch wide (18 x 15mm)
- Item number: wh590
As early as the 15th century in West Africa, cowry shells have been used as currency because they have many of the characteristics of money - they're easy to handle, light to carry, and they're non-perishable.
Perhaps it is because of their wide use as money that they somehow worked themselves into the culture, becoming rich with symbolism over time.
The cowrie's shape seems to resemble female forms - its rounded top reminds us of a pregnant woman's belly and its underside seems to resemble the female organ which gives life.
It may be for these reasons that it became a symbol of fertility in many ancient cultures and was also used as an amulet to add vitality and length to one's life.
This necklace showcases the opening into the shell's interior by leaving the center of the pendant as a complete void, which also has the effect of highlighting the sawtoothed pattern around its edges. It's plated in pure silver which has a very whitish color, and when given a polished finish as it is here, has a brilliant effect.
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