Please click on any of the Quick Links below for Seashell & Starfish related info.
· Can I Order A Conch Horn?
· Can I Order A Shell 'To Hear The Ocean'?
· Can I Order Chank Shells / Sinistral Shells?
· Can I Order CITES Listed Species?
· Can I Order Clam Shells?
· Can I Order Coral?
· Can I Order Seashell Operculi?
· Can I Order Seashells For Kids?
· Can I Trade / Exchange Seashells?
· Can I Travel With Seashells?
· Can I Visit Or Meet You?
· Can You Recommend A Seashell Book?
· Can You Send Me A Catalogue?
· Can You Send Me Photos Of Individual Shells?
· How Do I Cook With Seashells?
· How Do I Cut Seashells?
· How Do I Drill Seashells?
· How Do I Paint Starfish?
· How Do I Polish Seashells?
· How Do I Sell My Shell Collection?
We do not sell working Conch Horns - but it is not difficult to DIY - see info on making and playing Conch Horns on youtube.
Typically, anyone who can play i.e. a trumpet or trombone can also play a Conch Horn.
'Queen Conch' (Strombus gigas), a commercial species from the Bahamas is often used for this. As they have been on the list of protected species until recently, we don't list them for sale.
- Giant Helmet Shell (Cassis cornuta)
- Syrinx Shell (Syrinx aruanus) – see also Specimen Seashells MELONGENIDAE
- Giant Bursa Shell (Bursa bufo) – see Specimen Seashells RANELLIDAE
If you would like to order a Conch Horn shell, please email us for info and options.
Can I Order A Shell ‘To Hear The Ocean’?
Yes - some seashells resonate to ambient noise (see WIKIPEDIA).
Theoretically, the bigger the shell and the more ambient noise there is, the better the effect works.
But in practice, holding a big, heavy shell to your ear may be a bit awkward!
Please email us if you need a shell for this purpose, so we can select accordingly.
- Dakshinavarta ("right-turned", viewed with the aperture pointing up), aka sinistral Shankha, where the shell coils counterclockwise, viewed from the apex.
- Vamavarta ("left-turned", viewed with the aperture pointing up), aka dextral Shankha, where the shell coils clockwise when viewed from the apex. Most seashells around the world are left-turned or dextral.
In Hindu faith, a Dakshinavarta (sinistral) Shankha symbolises infinite space and is associated with the god Vishnu. The goddess Lakshmi - the consort of Vishnu – resides in a sinistral Shankha. Such a sinistral shell is rare and very desirable for religious ceremonies.
While we can’t offer you Chank Shells, we import beautiful, sinistral Lightning Whelk Shells (Busycon contrarium) in 2 varieties:
- Natural Lightning Whelk LG (8-9”)
- Polished Lightning Whelk LG (8-9”)
As of January 2017, Nautilus have been listed in Appendix II of CITES.
Can I Order Giant Clam Shells?
No, we don't offer Giant Clams (family TRIDACNIDAE) for sale - they are CITES-listed protected species.
The scientific name for the really big Clams is Tridacna gigas. You can legally buy a few of them in Australia that have been collected with a license. They are hard to get and expensive; besides which the international trade is still restricted (no legal import or export to and from Australia).
If you are just looking for the big Clam shape, there are now realistic looking fake Clams (resin cast of real Clams) available i.e. for interior design and the aquarium trade (see eBay).
Alternatively, if you would prefer to buy a big natural seashell and would also consider a different shape, we can offer you several other XL or XXL sized shells, such as Bailer, Syrinx or Giant White Murex.
No, sorry - we do not sell coral.
All marine environments are now under increased pressure from pollution and climate change, meaning that all types of coral in general are under threat – or if not now, they will shortly be.
Can I Order Seashell Operculi?
Yes, we can offer many types of operculum (aka operc, Cat's Eye - a shell door) although we never have enough to list them online.
Most commonly traded opercs are the shell doors of various Turban (Turbo) Shells.
Turbo Shell doors are oval in shape and have a white, bone-like surface with an embedded dark spiral line on one side. Sometimes this is still covered by an organic brown coating, which will remove easily by boiling or with a soak in chlorine bleach. The surface beneath will be pristine.
The reverse side looks quite variable, depending on the Turbo species it came from.
We generally only stock operculi with a good spiral side (complete, with good edge).
Would you like to order any operculi? Let us know QTY and type of items you seek via email, so that we can send you a Custom Order Offer.
Yes! Seashells are educational, tactile and exciting objects for Children to discover, explore and play with.
There is no safety rating for natural objects like seashells! We do not recommend that toddlers play unsupervised even with the most robust of shells.
There are some seashell types that are better suited for kids than others. Please email us for recommendations based on your child’s age and the type of play activity you have in mind.
Can I Order Shells For Cichlids?
Yes - while we can’t supply Neothauma tanganyicense (Terrestrial Snail Shells in Lake Tanganyika), which Cichlids use for breeding in the wild (no import of these to Australia, see Australian Department of Agriculture) - we can offer you a range of similarly shaped and sized, extremely lightweight Landsnail Shells that we have supplied successfully before to happy Cichlids.
Some owners reported that their fish promptly started breeding as soon as they were given shells.
To offer the fish a selection of shells (they enjoy rearranging them), we usually pre-select a suitable Mix of slightly variable shells in batches of 12 pcs. @ $ 30.00 per Mix. Just email us for details!
Can I Order Something Unlisted Online?
If you cannot find what you are looking for online, we may not have gotten around to listing it yet. However, it may well lurk in our warehouse (it’s a big warehouse).
Let us know QTY and type of items you seek via email. We may be able to send you a Custom Order Offer.
Can I Trade / Exchange Seashells?
Yes, we are always interested in trading for very good quality Cypraeidae, Conidae, Volutidae – or any rare or newly described species. We will exchange for those virtually anything we list online. Please contact us via email if you wish to offer a trade.
Yes, seashells travel all the time.
Currently problematic regions for traveling with shells we know of may be Brazil and Argentina, as both countries recently changed their import/export regulations.
Our shells & starfish products have been treated to be dry and clean; they do not contain any viable tissue (obvious when spot-checking). None of the seashells we list online are CITES-listed (protected), except for Nautilus (you cannot travel internationally with Nautilus Shells), so please check if your order contains any - this is the only exception.
If you still feel uncertain about traveling with shells, perhaps we can ship them for you? Any queries, please ask us via email anytime.
Can I Visit Or Meet You?
Meet us on the road: We annually present specimen shells for sale at trade events around the world. See the UPCOMING EVENTS link for our upcoming schedule.
We don’t have a seashell display, showroom or retail store, but collectors can visit us in Perth by appointment.
Unless you are already an experienced collector, your main problem will be: Where do I start? Is there a good general shell book that can help me find good specimens online?
Most seashell collectors have some seashell books at home. Books provide an overview of hundreds of species and their families, along with the correct scientific names and corresponding images.
With the correct spelling of the name and some basic info on the species, it’s much easier and quicker to find availability and prices of individual specimens on the internet.
There is still no alternative to a good seashell book, as many Specimen Seashells online are listed by scientific name / author only. We are listing our Specimens in categories (without individual images).
We may have several hundred specimens in stock per category and cannot possibly publish specific images of every seashell we are offering online.
A good general book on worldwide shells:
Encyclopedia Of Marine Gastropods
by Robin, 2008 (French shell club AFC and Conchbooks Publishing)
A great book for beginners and advanced shell collectors alike; the most comprehensive up-to-date guide to worldwide Gastropod shells currently available.
It includes over 12000 images plus updated taxonomy, some general information on each shell, incl. scientific name, common name, average size and location - see here.
If you want to focus on just one particular group of shells (i.e. just Cowries) – or one region (i.e. just Australia), we also have excellent books on those subjects.
Can You Send Me A Catalogue?
We don’t produce printed catalogues!
Our stock is constantly changing and expanding, so it would be very difficult for us to keep a printed catalog of seashells up-to-date. Our internet business sells decorative and specimen seashells to the general public, private collectors and other dealers. We also offer specimen shells for sale at various International Shell Shows every year.
You can print out any (or all!) of the current specimen shell pricelists from our website. Find the COLLECTORS menu on our website for all the different seashell families.
Click on any shell family and then highlight the section you want to print.
Any problems with printing? Please email us.
Unfortunately we cannot help you with images of individual shells at present - we are not set up for quick individual digital imaging. We only occasionally list Special Seashell Offers here.
Can You Ship To My Destination?
Please check with Australia Post – if Australia Post ships to your country, we can ship there, too.
Can You Value My Seashell Collection?
You are always welcome to use our publicly listed prices to help you get some idea of the value of the seashell species in your collection. Individual condition and accurate data may help determine the final value of each item, so it's important to treat all specimen shells carefully and to keep all data labels.
For a complete and professional valuation of your collection (i.e. for insurance) you will need to make an appointment with our specimen shell expert Hugh.
Yes, several species of Paper Nautilus (or Argonauta) are available in the Collectors Specimen Seashells department - see Cephalopoda.
How Do I Clean Shells for Aquarium / Cooking Use?
All our shells are stored in a big warehouse and they may still be dusty when you receive them.
If you want to ensure they are as squeaky clean as possible, place all the shells in a large pot of cold clean water and put this to a light boil for about 10 minutes.
The boiling won't harm the shells, but it's important to allow them to heat up and cool down gradually, as they otherwise might crack.
This method helps to rid shells of any residual animal tissue or any possible traces of commercial cleaning agents (i. e. chlorine, alcohol, etc.), dust particles, etc. - all in one go.
There are many ways to creatively use any seashells (incl. Scallops, Abalone, etc.) in food presentation.
Please find them listed in our Decorator department and advise us when ordering if you would like to use the shells for cooking.
Cutting shells can be done with a hand saw that is suitable for cutting metal.
How Do I Drill Seashells?
Not all shells need drilling - for small, thin shells, often a sharp needle / awl (i.e. attached to a handle) may be used to poke a hole (i.e. for beadwork or jewellery).
Larger shells may need to be drilled.
Natural starfish are pale on the bottom and a bit darker on top.
If you would like a particular colour of starfish (i.e. to match a colour theme), you can just spray-paint them any colour you like. A single can of paint will cover hundreds of starfish.
Benefits of DIY painting:
- You can paint exactly the right colour.
- It's very quick, the whole process takes very little time, as starfish will dry instantly.
Best for this is flat (non-gloss) spray enamel paint. Always wear protection / old clothing when using spray paint and spread newspaper in a wind-protected spot outside.
Turn starfish over and thinly paint the top & sides in fine layers, until you are happy with the result.
How Do I Polish Seashells?
Sandpaper suitable for metal can be used to smooth rough edges on a shell. Use increasingly finer grain for sanding (to approx. 600 grain). Following that, a rotating brush and finally a wool buff with jeweller’s rouge can be used to smooth and then polish your shell. Always wear protection when using power tools and rest the material frequently to keep it from overheating.
Alternatively, ask a jeweler for help - jeweler’s tools are traditionally used for polishing seashells and mother-of-pearl.
How Do I Sell My Shell Collection?
If you have a shell collection you are thinking of selling, we would certainly be interested in hearing about it. Buying complete collections from around Australia is something we do regularly.
Please contact us via email for more information.
Cabinets: We recommend metal cabinets for long term storage. Museums around the world use metal storage for Natural History collections to avoid potential problems associated with wooden cabinets.
Acidity and humidity levels in natural wood affect shiny shells (i.e. Cowries) first, as they have the most vulnerable nacre layers. However, all seashells will eventually degrade over time if exposed to acidity. A controlled low humidity level will help to delay damage, but as seashells naturally contain traces of moisture in their molecular structure, they may crack if they dry out too much.
Individual Storage: Seashells tend to roll around when stored loosely in drawers. They easily get scratched and so need to be kept from moving around.
- Long-life PVA anti-skid matting to line drawers (Note: Do not use foam, as it will degrade over time).
- Plastic dividers to create sections.
Take a critical look at your collection. Remove and discard all organic packaging or storage material, such as cotton wool (incl. from opercs), old matchboxes, cardboard, etc. All those materials contain acids and can be replaced with acid-free alternatives; even data labels can be printed on acid-free paper.
It probably wouldn't hurt to give your shells a gentle warm wash with mild soap and a good rinse while you're at it and let them dry completely before re-homing them.
How Do We Pack Seashells For Shipping?
We box all shipments inside your eParcel satchel prior to shipping.
Very fragile items (i.e. Nautilus) may be double-boxed, also depending on the other items they are shipped with. We always aim to use recycled materials for shipping where possible (cardboard, paper, bio-degradeable foam beads, etc.).
Shells other than bulk items are individually wrapped and padded to protect potentially fragile areas; starfish are usually packed flat between paper layers.
Handling seashells and starfish for packaging takes time and care (not unlike packing glass or fine bone china). As we are including packaging cost in our item pricing, there is no additional handling surcharge when you order. All quoted shipping costs represent delivery charges paid to 3rd party providers (i.e. Australia Post) - we don't charge additional fees.
What Is A 'Decorator Seashell'?
Natural or polished / pearlised Seashells, Starfish, Sea Urchins and other related, ungraded items, intended for Decoration. See more info here!
What Is 'Specimen Seashell Data'?
Specimen Seashells are individually packaged with Data Labels.
What Is 'Specimen Seashell Grading'?
Why don't we photograph Specimen Seashells?
We are offering Collector's Specimen Seashells in Category Listings online. Our extensive stock, located in Australia is a primary source for other Seashell Dealers, who are happy to purchase based on careful and accurate category descriptions. We can offer Discounts for large order volumes (incl. multiple QTY per species) and aim to keep our prices low, so it would be counter-productive to post images of individual items. We also sell Specimen Seashells directly to the public. All private collectors need to order from us is some basic information (i.e. General Reference Seashell Book) to enable ordering Specimen Shells via scientific name.
Need help? Just email us!