Shelling for beginners part-2

So last month we discussed some tips to get you started on your shelling adventure; things like where to shell, when to shell and what time to look for them. Well this week, instead of going over ‘best practices’ so to speak – we’ll give you a quick run down of some of the common types of shells you’ll run across so you have some sort of idea of what you’re looking at.

We’ll keep it to the basic well-known four, so you can commit it to memory. Let’s jump right in!

Cone Shells

Cone shells are exactly how they sound: cone-shaped. Now, we could almost write an entire blog on cone shells on their own – largely because there’s over 600 species throughout the world and all of them have a similar, distinct design: shaped just like a cone, flat top, slit like lip that runs the length of the shell. That’s literally all of them. In fact, there are some shellers who collect just cone shells and that’s it. Simply put, they’re some of the most common shells you’ll find on the beach.

Moon shells

Moon shells look almost exactly like a snail’s shell – or like a giant, over sugared cinnamon bun. You’ll find tons of these in Florida and up and down the east coast if that’s your desired stomping grounds. They tend to vary widely in shape – from one inch in length to as long as five inches. To the touch however, they feel almost completely round even though they’re not. They’re extremely smooth and are characterized by their smooth striped appearance and short spires.


Hot and cold, tropical to arctic – the extremes are what characterize the whelk shell. If you’re in a place where it’s super cold – you’ll find whelks. If you’re in a tropical setting – you’ll see plenty of them, too! It’s the in-between where you won’t find them. In a way, whelks look like trees – or one of those old Olympic cauldrons that hold the flame. What’s interesting though – is that you can tell whether you’re dealing with cold weather whelk or a tropical whelk by how thick the shells are and wouldn’t you know – the thicker the shell – the hotter the climate that whelk comes from. You’d think it’d be the opposite, but alas – it’s not.


Conch shells are probably the most popular or well known sea shell there is. Moanna wears one around her neck. Ursula stole Ariel’s voice and hid it in one. They’re in movies, they’re symbolic… and they’re probably in everyone’s beach house. They can be small, but they also can be quite large. Everyone’s probably picked one up, held it to their ear and ‘listened’ to the ocean. You’ll find these cool kids in Florida and other tropical areas. They’re pretty common, but that’s a good thing – because they look great in your home.

Next month, we’ll discuss some great ideas for home décor with some of your big finds. Until then, happy shelling!