The Symbolism of the Cowry Shell
The ever popular cowry (also spelled cowrie) shell has many uses and meanings. It has shown up in the form of money, jewelry, and religious accessories in almost every part of the world. Found in the islands of the Indian Ocean, the cowrie shell soon gained popularity throughout much of ancient Africa.
Spiritually, according to African legend, if you are attracted to cowrie shells you could be family to an Ocean Spirit of wealth and earth. It also represents Goddess protection which is very powerful and connected with the strength of the ocean. Throughout Africa, South and North America, the cowrie symbolized the power of destiny and prosperity. The cowry shell gave porcelain its name. The Italian word for cowry is “porcellana” meaning small pig.
The cowry shell is an African female symbol. Worn around the hips, it is believed to increase fertility. Rows of shells have been and continue to be attached to masks
That symbolize great wealth and the Royals have worn clothes adorned with them:
In today’s fashion, the beauty of the cowry shell is seen on necklaces, belts and bags.
What I remember most fondly is Brooklyn, NY. On Flatbush and Utica Ave, African/ West Indian-owned stores made clothes, necklaces and decorative bottles with this beautiful shell.