At this summers 2005 Detroit Taste Fest I bought an awesome Tiger Cowrie Shell Necklace for only 20 bucks. I put it on immediately & receive complements on it until I had left the event. I was thinking to myself, is it really that nice, yes it is. It is have as hell weighing at least 3.5 lbs with 17 shells measuring approximately 1.5 inches each. I always liked Cowrie shells but & wanted a necklace but could not find one that was me until… Since I have had this necklace I have been threatened for it (as a joke), offered money but nothjing too tempting. As a matter oif fact a guy offered me 10 buck for it like I was a desperate crack head hard up for money (HELLOOOO!)
I see people all the time with locks using the smaller more common Money Cowrie shells as hair adornments, but never figured out what it was all about etc. The same can be said for the more earthy type Afro American who may be spotted with shell chokers, earrings, bracelets etc. Well now that I own my own shells I figured that I would educate myself on what they are about so that I am informed & can share the knowledge no matter how useless it is.
Cowrie shells are really shells of gastropods aka snails/mollusks, which come from Islands in the Indian Ocean (but are found all over the world non-African) & along the coast Indian Ocean Coast of Africa. Many shells varieties were used as currency & are still were being used is areas is Africa like Nigeria within the 20th century but this practice dates back as far as Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians considered them to be magical agents and also used them as currency in foreign exchange transactions. Millions of them in the tombs of the Pharaohs during Archeological digs in the past.
Colors range from white to black and in a variety of sizes. Cowrie shells are synonymous symbol for, the Caribbean & Afro America, these small white shells have become an easy multicultural & ethic fashion statement.