Style

The Best Shell Necklaces & How to Style Them

shell necklaces

Shell necklaces are super versatile – they’re just as home on fashion’s top runways as they are on camping surf trips up the coast. Whether you wear one for an epic beach day or a night out on the town, shell necklaces are the perfect way to tap into summer-ready style.

Spotted on everyone from Elizabeth Taylor in the ‘70s to Gigi Hadid in 2019, shell necklaces have been accessorizing stylish humans for decades and they’re here to stay. Here’s the lowdown on shell necklaces and our fav picks for stylin’ and affordable pieces you can buy today. 

Best Shell Necklaces

girl wearing shell necklace

Shell necklaces have been in the fashion spotlight in the ‘70s, ‘90s, and like most things in fashion, they’re baaack. The appeal of puka shell chokers can’t be denied. So you might know that shell necklaces have had their moments through the years, but did you know that shell necklaces have been #trending for tens of thousands of years?

 

Fun Fact: Humans have been collecting shells like cowrie shells for thousands of years and the oldest examples of jewelry ever found were made from shells (dating back to as many as 100,000 years ago!).

Fashion that lasts for millennia has to be doing something right!

Two of the most popular shell necklaces are cowrie shell necklaces and puka shell necklaces.

The Cowrie Shell Necklace

cowrie shell necklaces

Cowrie shells are smooth and shiny and have two distinct sides -- one side is rounded and the other is flat with a long narrow opening that is typically toothed at the edges. Cowrie shells come in many sizes and colors in nature, but necklaces and jewelry typically feature white cowrie shells.

In addition to being used in jewelry since ancient times, cowrie shells have a storied history in many cultures around the world with symbology linked to good luck, wealth, destiny, and prosperity. Sign us up!

cowrie shell necklace

This Cowrie Shell Necklace features a small white St. Christopher charm and adjustable closure so it can be worn as a choker as well. Layer it with a St. Christopher medal for all the summery feels!! $24

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Puka Shell Necklace

puka shell necklace

From being a popular style in the ‘70s to donning the necks of just about every heartthrob of the ‘90s, puka shell necklaces are stuff of legend. Okay, maybe that’s a tad dramatic, but let’s just say they have some pretty rad history happening.

You could say that puka shell necklaces are made from puka shells, but there’s actually no such thing as a puka seashell in and of itself. What people have labeled as ‘puka shells’ are actually small pieces of cone snail shells.

 

Fun Fact: Natural puka shells are created when an empty snail cone shell is worn down in the breaking surf -- parts of the shell break off in a certain way to create a shell fragment with a natural hole in the middle, sort of like a natural bead. Because of this handy feature, these shell fragments were given the Hawaiian name of ‘puka’ which means ‘hole.’

puka shell necklace

Whether you’re heading to the pool or a warm summer night out, this Puka Shell Necklace is sure to bring the beach vibes wherever you go. The necklace features real puka shells with a small white St. Christopher surf charm, complete with a lobster clasp closure and extender chain so it’s adjustable (and can be worn as a puka shell choker).

Rock it solo, or style with a classic St. Christopher necklace or two for a layered look! $28

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Cowrie Shell Bracelet & Anklet

cowrie shell bracelet and anklet

Care to beachify with more shell jewelry options? This Cowrie Shell Bracelet & Anklet is exactly that fully adjustable and can be worn around your wrist or ankle. It brings a subtle hint of beach life to any outfit. $24

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How to Style Shell Necklaces

Shell necklaces are perfect to complete a summery beach-casual look and are always in style year-round at the coast. Here’s some style inspo from our Get Back Necklaces crew! 🧜🏽‍♀️

 

girl holding shell necklace and st christopher necklaces

Cowrie Shell Necklace with St. Christopher necklaces

 

girl wearing puka shell choker

Puka Shell Necklace

 

cowrie shell anklet

Cowrie Shell Anklet

 

woman wearing cowrie shell necklace and st christopher necklaceCowrie Shell Necklace with small St. Christopher medal

 

woman wearing Cowrie Shell Necklace and Cowrie Shell AnkletCowrie Shell Necklace & Cowrie Shell Anklet

 

Puka Shell Necklace and Cowrie Shell NecklacePuka Shell Necklace & Cowrie Shell Necklace 

 

 

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Read next:   The Cutest Beach Jewelry for Endless Summer Vibes

The Ultimate St Chris Style Guide

The Cutest Beach Jewelry for Endless Summer Vibes


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