The Power of Cowrie Shells: An Overview of Their Meaning and Use

The Power of Cowrie Shells: An Overview of Their Meaning and Use

Cowrie shells are small, shiny shells that were once used as currency in many cultures around the world, including Africa and China. These shells, which are found in the warm, shallow waters of the ocean, have a long history of being associated with wealth and prosperity.

In Africa, cowrie shells were often used as a form of currency in business transactions, and were also believed to bring good luck and prosperity to those who possessed them. In some African cultures, cowrie shells were even associated with the goddess of the moon, who was thought to bring fertility and abundance.

In China, cowrie shells were also used as a form of currency and were believed to bring good fortune and prosperity. The shells were often given as gifts to newlyweds as a symbol of good luck, and were also used in religious ceremonies as a way to appease the gods and ensure a good harvest.

Despite their long history of being used as a form of currency and a symbol of wealth and prosperity, cowrie shells are not as widely used today as they once were. However, they are still collected and admired for their beauty and cultural significance.

Let’s take a look at the cowrie shell meaning, why it is so popular today, and what types of items you can find with cowrie shells on them.

Cowrie Shell Meaning

In Ancient Africa and Asia, the cowrie shell was seen as an object that held immense spiritual power. It was believed that the shape of the shell resembled a woman's genitalia and thus was associated with fertility, protection from evil spirits, good luck, and abundance. Even today in some parts of the world, like India for example, cowrie shells are often used during prayer ceremonies or rituals as a way to ward off negative energy.

Types of Cowrie Shell Items

From necklaces to bracelets to earrings - there are many different types of items available that feature cowrie shells on them. Men's cowrie shell necklaces are particularly popular due to their masculine look and bold statement they make when worn. Long cowrie shell necklaces are also fashionable among women due to their ability to add an elegant touch to any outfit. No matter which type of item you choose - be it a simple shell necklace or more elaborate jewelry - wearing something with cowries is sure to make you stand out from the crowd!

Cowrie Shells and Money

Cowrie shells have a long history of being used as a form of currency. In fact, they are one of the oldest forms of money in the world, with evidence of their use dating back to ancient civilizations in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Cowrie shells were valued for their beauty, rarity, and the fact that they were difficult to counterfeit. They were often used to purchase goods and services, and were also used as a form of exchange in trade and business transactions.

In many cultures, cowrie shells were seen as a symbol of wealth and prosperity. They were often worn as jewelry or used to decorate clothing and other items, and were also given as gifts to signify good fortune and success. In some cultures, cowrie shells were even used as a form of spiritual currency, with people offering them to the gods and goddesses in the hopes of receiving blessings and good luck.

Despite their long history of use as a form of currency, cowrie shells are not as widely used today as they once were. With the advent of modern banking and the widespread use of paper money and coins, cowrie shells have largely been replaced as a medium of exchange. However, they are still prized as a collectible and are often sought after by those interested in the history and cultural significance of money.

Cowrie Shell Jewelry

Cowrie shells have long been used in jewelry-making, and are a popular choice for those looking to add a touch of beachy, Bohemian style to their outfit. Cowrie shell jewelry can range from simple, dainty pieces with just a few shells to more elaborate designs featuring hundreds of shells strung together in intricate patterns.

Cowrie Shell Necklace

One of the most popular types of cowrie shell jewelry is the cowrie shell necklace. These necklaces can be made with a single strand of shells, or with multiple strands that are woven together to create a more complex and eye-catching design. Cowrie shell necklaces can be worn alone, or paired with other types of jewelry such as pendants or beads.

Cowrie Shell Bracelets and Anklets

Cowrie shell bracelets and anklets are also popular choices for those looking to add a touch of coastal charm to their wardrobe. These pieces are often made with elastic or stretchy cord, which makes them easy to slip on and off and comfortable to wear. Cowrie shell earrings and rings are also available, and can be found in a variety of styles to suit different tastes.

In addition to being used in jewelry, cowrie shells are also often incorporated into other types of decorative items such as home decor, clothing, and accessories. Whether you're looking for a statement piece to complete your outfit or a subtle touch of coastal charm, cowrie shell jewelry is a beautiful and versatile choice.

Difference Between Cowrie Shells and Puka Shells

Tigris Cowrie Shell

Cowrie shells and puka shells are both types of shells that are often used in jewelry-making and other decorative purposes. However, there are a few key differences between these two types of shells.

One of the main differences between cowrie shells and puka shells is their size and shape. Cowrie shells are typically larger and more oval-shaped, while puka shells are smaller and more circular. Cowrie shells also tend to be more smooth and shiny, while puka shells are more rough and textured.

Another difference between cowrie shells and puka shells is their origin. Cowrie shells are found in warm, shallow waters around the world, including the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea. Puka shells, on the other hand, are found mainly in Hawaii and other tropical regions of the Pacific.

Despite their differences, both cowrie shells and puka shells are popular choices for use in jewelry and other decorative items. Cowrie shells are often used to create elegant, bohemian-inspired pieces, while puka shells are more often associated with a laid-back, beachy style. Whether you prefer cowrie shells or puka shells (or both!), there are plenty of beautiful and stylish options to choose from.


Cowrie shells have been around for centuries and remain popular today due to their unique shape, vibrant colors, and spiritual meaning behind them. Whether you wear men's cowries in a necklace or opt for something more elaborate like a long cowry shell necklace - these pieces will surely become conversation starters wherever you go! So if you're looking for something special that will help express your personality while still holding on to its ancient significance - look no further than the stunningly beautiful items featuring these coveted shells.

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