Kahelelani shells are Mollusks of the class Gastropoda, Latin: Leptothyra verruca. Their adult size is 3mm. The jewelry on this site are composed mainly of Kahelelani shells. These tiny spirals wash ashore throughout the island chain of Hawai`i. Kaua`i is known for its abundance in colors and some of the most rare colors are included in Authentic Niihau work. Kahelelani shells are considered gems and are insurable.
The Sunrise shells are scallops of the Class Bivalvia, specifically Langford’s Pecten. They were considered sacred to ancient Hawaiian’s and only the Royal Family would wear them. They are called Sunrise shells because they can be found at first light on the beach, when the sun reflects their colors. Legend says only “blessed” people find these shells. Their adult size is approximately 35mm. The main colors that found on the beach are yellow to white and orange to red, but the green ones are the most rare.
Also from Class Gastropoda, Cone shells are from the Mollusk family, Genus Conus. They were previously homes to venomous snails, some of which are dangerous even to man. They can range in size from 20mm to 110mm.
Puka shells were formerly Cone shells. Once the mollusk inhabiting the cone shell dies, the shell is tossed about in the ocean. Years of Hawaii’s pounding surf beat away the weaker parts of the shell, until only the shoulder remains. The apex will wear before the shoulder, creating a hole. This is called the Puka shell, which means “hole” in Hawaiian.
Sundials are also from the Gastropoda class. Their family name Architectonicidae comes from the Greek word meaning “master-builder.” This is in reference to their shape, which resembles a circular staircase. They range in size from 7mm to about 32mm. They work particularly well as clasps for the Rope strands. Their shape is beneficial for “locking” several strands together.
Momi shells are Mollusks, again from the Gastropoda class.