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Home: Gemstone Beads Index: Spiny Oyster Shell Beads

About Spiny Oyster Shell

spiny oyster shell beads

Spiny oyster shell, more formally called spondylus brodnip princeps or spondylus princeps, is found in the Sea of Cortez off Baja California, Mexico. Spondylus is a Latin word meaning "spines on its back." Brodnip is the name of the scientist who traveled with Cortez on his exploration of Baja California.

The shell comes in three main colors: red, orange and purple, and is sometimes also found in white and yellow. It was used in jewelry before coral became available. It was the shell most loved by the Mayan people, and has been found in abundance in archeological excavations of the Anasazi, Mogollon and Hohokam of Southwest. In 1976, Native Americans of the Southwest began to export purple spiny oyster shells for jewelry making, popularizing their use abroad.


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Types of Spiny Oyster Shell

  Purple spiny oyster beads from Rings & Things

Purple Spiny Oyster


This is the deep violet variety of spiny oyster with white stripes.
 
  Red spiny oyster beads from Rings & Things

Red Spiny Oyster


This is the red variety of spiny oyster.

 

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