Stranded Nautilus

Buy this item for $150.00 at our sister site, Edelstein Metalsmiths.


September 2015
Nautilus shell, cultured pearls, sterling silver

I came across this large carved nautilus-shell teardrop in a collection of beads and baubles I'd purchased at a liquidation sale and was stunned that I didn't remember buying it. I've been a little obsessed with nautili since I did a report on them in fifth grade, but I never realized that the shell could be so beautiful when polished (sadly, no picture I can take does it justice). Although the carving does emulate the chambers of a nautilus shell, it's pretty clear what animal it came from when you look at the one unpolished section on the back. In making it wearable, I wanted something that would really highlight and enhance the variegations in the nautilus shell's own iridescence, so I strung up a 22" strand of alternating pink and white cultured pearls to hang the pendant on to bring out some of the colors.

Of course, the chambered nautilus is not native to Hawai‘i, despite our abundance of fantastic marine life which does include a native species of paper nautilus (which is technically an octopus and not a nautilus at all). So if the animal who gave up the shell that eventually became this pendant had been found in local waters, it really would have been stranded.

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