The warm waters of Southeast Asia are home to a dazzling array of mollusks, so it’s no surprise that the world’s finest shell artisans can be found in the Philippines.
From a practical start in the 16th century, when Spanish settlers used translucent Capiz shells as a substitute for window panes, shellcraft has become a signature specialty for the region.
Among the most prized shells are those containing iridescent Mother of Pearl, also known as “nacre,” which coats the inner shell of pearl mussels, pearl oysters, abalones, and the t-shaped clams known as hammer oysters. The Capiz shell is also highly valued for its natural luster.
Transforming these naturally beautiful shells into finished works is a labor-intensive, highly skilled art form. The shells are painstakingly trimmed into small pieces or tiles that can be inlaid. Depending on the design, the tiny tiles may require a backing layer or tint before they are pieced by hand on the final form. A final polish reveals subtle colors and patterns.
Although shell is inherently strong and resilient, our artisans seal and protect our shell bath accessories with a thin layer of clear acrylic to enhance its durability.
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