Friday, September 21, 2012

Show & Tell Friday ~ 2

Iris Payne-Mack of Greatminz Accessories loves, loves, cowrie shells.  These decorative shells are what makes her jewelry selection distinctly unique.

Cowrie shells close up
Found in the islands of the Indian Ocean, cowries are beautiful egg-shaped shells belonging to sea mollusks of the genus Cypraea. There are over 250 known species living in warm sea areas.  Most cowrie shells are smooth, shiny, and oval-shaped with a center slit.  Almost all of these shells are considered lovely because of the very shiny surface that has been compared to the sheen of porcelain.  





Imagine paying for your goods/services with...shells. 

The cowrie (aka "cowry") shell of Africa has been the most popular, and abundant historical currency on the continent since being introduced from the East/Middle East.  During early colonial times, many Africans preferred being paid with cowrie shells over gold coins.  The ever popular cowrie shell has had many uses and meanings.  North and West African tribes often produced sacks of cowries as a dowry or bride-price.  (For parents today it would be cheaper than paying for a wedding, and kick the Bridezilla drama to the curb.)  Specifically, for many West African cultures, the presence of cowrie shells indicates fertility.  A regular practice within countries such as Gambia is the threading of cowrie shells onto a bin-bin, a waistband worn around a woman's hip for the purpose of increasing fertility.  (Guaranteed pregnancy in a belt.  Hmm...if only becoming prego was that easy!)  In other countries, it was believed that the shell protected against the evil eye.    Cowrie shells were also used in making jewelry, to embellish clothing, decorate drums/headdresses, design ritual masks/furniture, for games, and in computation.

Today, just as centuries ago, cowrie shells are featured in a number of African crafts.   African masks, sculptures, jewelry, boxes, clothing and other artifacts are often adorned with cowrie shells of varying sizes.  Just as this soft leather sash belt is beautifully adorned with cowrie shells 4 leaf clover style.   

http://www.tee-iabodesigns.com/jewelry.html

To see more decorative pieces by Greatminz Accessories go visit the website @ www.tee-iabodesigns.com   in the jewelry section.  Peace & Blessings 

 
 







  



12 comments:

  1. Informative like a muggggg...and interesting as well...and this is why i love the shells so...they are unique but original..and knowing that they spice up ya sex life is an added perk...Thanks cuzz...Great article!

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    1. Thank you Cousin! LOL@adding spice to the sex life! You are indeed a cowrie shell queen.

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  2. Informative post, beautiful belt. It'll have to be a wedding present 'cause I ain't trying wear it until I'm in full fledge menopause. It's beautiful though!

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    1. Lmbo! Kenya that belt is not hardly going to put you in the prego state. If it was the magical solution to getting pregnant fertility clinics would up the creek w/o a paddle. I know you're not taking any chances though. Smh...you are a mess!

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  3. Great craftsmanship! I am sure she will get a lot of much deserved traffic, thanks to your show and tell.

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    1. Thank you Wilma Jean! We hope for and welcome any traffic that comes our way.

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  4. Protects against the Evil Eye???? I have a teen aged girl, I NEED me some of these :). Interesting post!

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    1. LOL! Thank you. Evil eye and teenager go together hand & hand!

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  5. Very interesting especially that they were used as currency! And what a lovely belt. I'm going to go check out the web site since Christmas is coming :) Thanks!

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    1. Thank you Jen! If you don't see something you like now keep checking back. There is something new being added at least every other week or so.

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  6. The old barter system is back like.
    In India the local name is "Kowdi"

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  7. I love shells, the connection to the ocean that holding one can make you feel even if you are a thousand miles from anything remotely ocean-like.

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