Everything that the sea casts on the shore tells a story. Tides ebb and flow which of course bring about new treasures to be found each and every morning. It connects us, the smell of the salty air, the sand between our toes and the anticipation of what gifts have been washed up from the high tide the night before. Nature rewards patience! Can’t you just picture the unspoiled beach as it stretches for miles in either direction, imagining the thousands of seashells waiting to be discovered!
Shell collecting is an addictive hobby as many of you know. These shells, because of their bright colors, rich variety of shapes and designs, and abundance along our SWFL seashores, have long been used for ornaments, tools, and coins. Aristotle wrote extensively about them. In the ruins of ancient Pompeii and in a crypt in a Mayan pyramid in Yucatán, shells were found that may be the remains of ancient collections.
The shell itself is the exoskeleton of a soft-bodied mollusk. Composed mainly of calcium carbonate, the shell is secreted by the animal and provides protection as well as support for various organs. Most marine mollusks are able to shut themselves off completely from their watery world when they find themselves in danger by closing their aperture by a trap door called an operculum.
We find many gorgeous shells on our Treasure Seekers Shell Tours here out of Goodland, FL going to the pristine Ten Thousand Islands Wildlife Refuge- but probably of the rarest and most desirable that has ever been found on our tours is the Golden Banded Cone, Conus ( Lindaconus) spurius. This shell always commands a very good price on the market, and it is the only shell I can think of found here in the Gulf of Mexico that is almost impossible to find or purchase. Our guest Pam Howie found one on her shelling tour with us last year and ended up receiving a BLUE RIBBON for it in the self collected Scientific Division of the Sanibel Shell Show March 2019. We were very proud of her! This is the second Golden Banded Cone we have found on the tours in the past two years.
The Golden Banded Cone is a color variation of a Alphabet Cone- which has rows of brown spots on it instead of lines or bands. It is truly the Shell of a Lifetime!