Tag: shell jewelry

Unusual Operculum Jewelry

Some operculum jewelry pieces simply don’t fit neatly into any of the more popular design categories such as filigree, tortoise shell, etc. This isn’t too surprising, considering that opercula are rather unusual themselves! So here are a few that defied description and/or approximate dating, although in some cases I’ve included my personal “guesstimate” of age.…

Silver Filigree Operculum Jewelry

Another popular style for operculum jewelry was to set the shells into ornate filigree necklaces and bracelets. The word “filigree” derives from filigrana meaning a wire thread (filum in Latin) and granum meaning grain or small bead. Very intricate and delicate openwork patterns can be created in this way, much like lace but using metal…

Antique Victorian Operculum Jewelry

operculum bracelet in original case

When I first encountered operculum jewelry, my reaction was ‘What the heck is that?’ It certainly didn’t resemble anything I’d ever seen before; for one thing, they looked almost eerily like “eyes” of some sort. But were they manmade or natural? They are indeed natural; in fact, they are part of a special type of…