What's My Favorite Hawaiian Shell You Ask? That's A TOUGH Question To Answer!

There’s a question that I get quite a lot in my interactions with customers, friends and family. That question is “what is your favorite shell?” And let me tell you, that question is NOT easy to answer. Depending on what I’m using the shell for, I have different favorites. However, I think this is how a parent might feel with their children (Yes, I’m about to compare myself to a real mother with real children… I understand I am not a mom, and I am about to compare my love for shells with a mom’s love for her children.. call me crazy, but hear me out). I honestly feel like each seashell I find is like my child – I love every one of them for their uniqueness, their natural beauty, imperfections, vibrancy, and potential. I can recall where I found it, usually the date I found it, who I was with, what the water temp and visibility was like, etc. My excitement in finding a specific in the shell is so real and the memory so vivid. So, while I can’t relate to a mother’s love, these seashells are the closest thing I have to a love for a child (along with my love for my pups Koa & Puka, of course).


So, what’s my favorite you ask? Well let’s start with the one I’m always most excited to find, and that is the Hawaiian miter, or what I've learned to be known as the 'Punctured Miter' (Stender, K., 2014, "Family Mitridae & Costellariidae Miters", retrieved from https://www.marinelifephotography.com/marine/mollusks/gastropods/miters/miters.htm". 

 There's actually two common types of miters that I personally find out here in Hawaii. There's another common miter that I call the a deep sea miter, but it's official name is the 'Episcopal Miter'.  There’s something SO beautiful about these shells. I’ve found itty bitty small ones along our shores, and even larger deep sea miters on my scuba dives, and they’re all just as exciting to find. Something about the punctured miters reminds me of a crown; the way their horns sort of sit along the outside of the shell, creating this Queen or King like appearance. I just love their vibrant orange color, and I find myself getting the most excited to find these for whatever reason. Yes... even over sunrise shells. Sunrise shells deserve their own blog post entirely, but in short, sunrise shells are endemic to Hawaii and are the hardest shells to find in my opinion. They’re found at about 100 ft. and require you to scuba for these beauties. Gosh, and as I write this, I’m tempted to change this blog post entirely to say they’re my favorite to find, but for some reason I’m going to stick with the miter shell for now.  


My favorite shell to make jewelry out of is 100% the opihi shell. I’ve had a love for opihis for a very long time, and have always thought they were the cutest shells with such a symbolic meaning. This little guy clinging onto rocks along our Hawaiian coastlines, using these rocks as a safe harbor against the ocean’s power and force. Similar to little children, opihis cling onto these rocks similar to how children cling to their guardians. I find this analogy to be so touching and heart-warming. I just love working with opihis, and sometimes think of how beautiful each one is in their own way, similar to children. The gold-dipped opihi necklace is an original piece that I personally designed and created from my love of the opihi shell. From the start it’s been my favorite to work with in my jewelry, and continues to be a shell that I love to find and work with in my pieces.


As much as I favor opihis, miters, and sunnies, I truly do LOVE every shell I find, and am just as excited for a pretty broken piece as I am a whole one (they make for perfect ring pieces and are fun to keep for crafts and décor)!


What’s your favorite seashell? I’d love to know!