A word in your shell-like means I want to talk to you, just in case you thought the title was a bit random! I’m talking about shells so thought it was quite an appropriate heading 😁
Following on from my post about true beauty and what it is – if you haven’t read it, I’d love you to and you can find it here What is beauty? I was responding to a comment which developed into a little conversation – as you do!
So this conversation has prompted me to think about the fact that pretty much everyone thinks shells are beautiful but they have flaws don’t they. Each shell is individual – like we are – so another reason to appreciate each other’s uniqueness. Ruth is right, the shells which usually attract the most attention are the unusual ones. Think about when you go to the beach, don’t you get really excited when you find a shell that’s different to all the others?
I then thought about seashells, what makes them like they are etc and I found this interesting information on the conchologists of America website (try and say conchologists – it’s really hard!!) I didn’t know there was such a thing, but hey, why not? The link to the website is here. if you’d like to take a look. Anyway I thought this information was good to know, and I didn’t know about this so I thought I’d share a couple of Q and A from their site.
Why are some shells so shiny? Does someone varnish them? Or do they get polished by the sand?
Someone may indeed varnish a shell, but this is not the usual way. Some kinds of shells are shiny because of the way the animal lives, but the sand isn’t the polishing agent — the animal itself is. When it is extended from its shell to crawl or feed, its body slides up around the shell like a cape; indeed, it’s called a “mantle.” Some mollusks cover their entire shell, others only a part. Since the mantle that covers the shell is also the part that actually manufactures shell, it can add tiny amounts of shelly substance as it enfolds the shell, smoothing and shining it, keeping its surface free of growths and encrustations, and from dulling by chemicals in the water.
I’ve seen purple, bright pink, even bright yellow and green! Where does the beautiful color come from?
The shells are not, as is often thought, painted or dyed. The colors are sometimes determined by heredity but in some species can also be influenced by the diet of the animal. Color in mollusks often serves as camouflage, but some pigments are primarily structural in function, serving to strengthen the shell. The yellows and reds of beta carotene are an example. Other colors, usually iridescent “mother-of-pearl” hues, are due to light refraction in combination with the actual structure of a translucent shell material.
How do they make all those beautiful patterns?
The patterns and designs on shells are produced naturally by the animal that makes the shell, and the pattern is actually part of the shell, not a surface ornamentation. Each species has some patterns that are common to its members.
So there we are, seashells are beautiful, regardless of the variations in pattern, imperfections and colour.
We too are beautiful regardless of the variations in pattern, imperfections and colour.