Nautilus Shells

Nautilus Shells

Nautilus shells are natural seashells that are prized for their white, pearly appearance. Nautilus shells wash up onto beaches of the tropical Indo West Pacific where they can then be collected, and fisheries harvest some of them. The chambered nautilus shell is an example of a nearly perfect spiral.

What is a nautilus?

A nautilus is a mollusk of the cephalopod family. The soft-bodied nautilus lives entirely in its shell. It can close its entire body within the shell and seal off the opening with two folded tentacles. Over time, as the nautilus grows, it creates newer, larger chambers and moves its body into the largest chamber. The chambered nautilus moves through the water by the propulsion thats created from moving water into and out of these chambers.

Does mother-of-pearl come from a nautilus shell?

Mother-of-pearl is a natural, iridescent material cut from the innermost layer of mollusk shells. This layer is created by secretions from the animal living in the seashell. The innermost layer of the chambered nautilus shell can be cut into mother-of-pearl sections. This pearl material can be cut into small pieces for use in jewelry or decorative items. Mother-of-pearl from a nautilus shell is a desirable seashell material for artisans all over the world.

What color are nautilus shells?

When viewed from above, the chambered nautilus shell appears striped. When viewed from below, the nautilus shell is white. The shell is two layered. The outer layer of the seashell is matte white, and the inner layer has an iridescent, pearl-like sheen. The innermost layer of the chambered nautilus shell is a blue-gray pearl color. This innermost shell layer is cut into natural mother-of-pearl that can be used for making jewelry.

What are some uses for nautilus shells?

The shell of the nautilus is used primarily as a decorative item. The beauty of the shell itself makes it a popular item for decoration. The nautilus has been used in many ways by craftsmen around the world. The decorative possibilities are nearly endless.

  • The nautilus shell can be sanded down to its iridescent layer, creating a shiny specimen.
  • The nautilus shell can be cut in half to expose its chambered spiral.
  • The innermost layer of the nautilus can be shaped into jewelry and inlays.
  • The nautilus can be left in its natural state that features a pattern resembling tiger stripes.
  • The nautilus can be crafted into oil lamps and other creative products.