The hard and exotic looking shells are the natural habitats of small animals staying in saline waters such as snails, clams, oysters and many others. They protect and house the living organisms inside. These shells are comprised of three layers. The composition is mainly calcium carbonate, which gives these shells the hardness and the protein content of merely two percent. These shells are not made up of cells, unlike other animal parts. Thus, they are non-living and do not decompose easily.
Seashores are popular vacation spots, especially during warm weather. These shores are often bestowed with myriad varieties of sea shells which leave people besotted. Art of shelling often becomes a hobby for people inhabiting lands near the seashore. Collecting these beautiful exoskeletons leads one to explore further about the various types of shells, and the biological aspects of organisms related to them. Shell collection is a hobby for many people, and various clubs are also available for discussion about different aspects of shelling and understanding sea shells better.
The collected shells can be used in a variety of ways. Many people like making shell jewelry and other personal adornments with these shells, others use them as craft articles, home décor, calcium for gardens, so on and so forth.
Collecting shells requires some basic equipment like, shovels and buckets. The market is full of guide books to assist beginners and help in perfecting the art of shelling for experts.
After collecting, shells need to be cleaned and stored in a proper manner. If the inhabiting organism has left the shell, it can be soaked in bleach solution of 50% concentration. This helps in dissolving the unwanted components like any dirt or algae giving rise to foul odour. After soaking any irregularities can be removed with a sharp tool. Before the shells can be used for the purpose of making jewelry or any other crafts holes are drilled into them to string them through if required. If shells are not thoroughly cleaned prior to storage, they release unfavourable smells and some shells may also get stained due to the presence of unfavourable organic debris in them.
Enthusiastic shell collectors can also buy shells from various websites and shops. Some websites offer hermit crab shells for sale and awesome large seashells for sale. These can be purchased in cleaned forms and added to your existing collection.
The shell itself is composed of calcium carbonate and it houses soft-bodied creatures, but when cleaned the same shell becomes a piece of artwork and can be used in a variety of ways. Happy Shelling!