The Complete Guide to Different Types of Cowrie Shells

Cowrie shells are marine shells that have been used for various purposes throughout history, including currency, adornment, and cultural significance. Here are some types of cowrie shells:

1. Cypraea Moneta

Cypraea moneta, commonly known as the Money Cowrie, is one of the most widely recognized and commonly used cowrie shells. It is small in size and typically has a smooth, shiny surface. Historically, these shells have been used as a form of currency in various cultures.

2. Cypraea Annulus

Cypraea annulus, also known as the Ringed Cowrie, is a larger species of cowrie shell with distinctive ridges or rings along its surface. These shells often have intricate patterns and are sought after for their aesthetic value in jewelry and crafts.

3. Cypraea Tigris

Cypraea tigris, commonly referred to as the Tiger Cowrie, is a large and highly prized species of cowrie shell. It is known for its striking appearance, featuring a smooth and glossy surface with mottled patterns resembling tiger stripes. Tiger Cowrie shells have been used in traditional jewelry, ceremonial attire, and decorative items.

4. Cypraea Luria

Cypraea luria, also known as the Luria Cowrie, is a smaller-sized cowrie shell with a smooth and glossy surface. It often exhibits color variations ranging from white to shades of brown or gray. Luria Cowrie shells have been used as adornments and for decorative purposes.

5. Cypraea Umbilicata

Cypraea umbilicata, commonly known as the Umbilicate Cowrie, is a species characterized by its umbilical opening on the underside of the shell. It has a smooth and rounded shape and is often used in jewelry and crafts.

These are just a few examples of the many species and varieties of cowrie shells that exist. Cowrie shells have been significant in various cultures, symbolizing wealth, prosperity, fertility, and spirituality. Today, they continue to be appreciated for their beauty and are used in jewelry making, crafts, and as collectible items.