Monday, January 23, 2017

The Romance of Shell Art

January is quickly passing us by and February will be here very soon. With February comes Valentine's Day, and romance! A perfect month to show romantic vignettes. Since I am a lover of all things Victorian it is perfect. So I will be posting a series of Romantic Vignettes using Victorian antiques. 
I am feeling the romance a little early, so here we go...

What says romance more then seashells, lace and cameos?!
I bought this antique seashell box at one of my favorite antique malls in St. Louis, and this was the condition of it when I bought it, lots of missing shells.

But lucky for me the missing shells were inside the box.

The inside of the shell filled lid is a mirror, that I should have cleaned before photographing it! :)

So with a little patience and a little glue here is the end result. Although it still has a few missing shells, but that's okay.

the side...

and the back...

For the vignette I used a painted cream colored hat stand with a lace handkerchief draped over it. And more lace to rest the shell box upon.

A Victorian lady scrap piece, and a pressed glass pin tray filled with cameos!

The pink cameo was my great grandma's and the others I just bought this past week at an estate sale I was working. The black one looks to be an August birthstone on the necklace. The other pieces are unmounted, but I thought they were still romantic!

I have several antique shell art pieces that I keep in the powder room. It is really hard for me to pass them up when I see them. 
The one pictured below, in the front was my very first one. Once upon a time it had a pincushion on it and now all that is left is the freyed silk. The horseshoe shaped shell piece is a souvenir from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.

And a few more inside the wall cabinet

The piece in the front looks like a dresser. These boxes are much smaller then the box I showed in the vignette. 

The porcelain blue lady is a German ring box, and the seashell box behind it is two separate bottoms and one lid that fits them both. Found at totally different places and different years!

So anyway, that is my Victorian shell art collection. Thanks for visiting and I would love to hear from you! Enjoy your last week of January 2017!

I am linking to the following blog parties...
VINTAGE CHARM with Cecilia, Sharon, Kathleen and Diana


  1. Dear Gina:
    You did a great job restoring your lovely box and I enjoyed seeing all these wonderful Victorian pieces. You are truly the Queen of Victorian and your knowledge is amazing!

  2. Your newest Seashell Art piece is amazing. Happy that you found some of the missing shells inside the box. The vignette of Cameo pieces is so pretty. How nice to have your Grandmothers. I have a set of a Cameo pin and two matching Cameo earrings from my husbands grandmother. They look more like your black mounted piece. You did a great job displaying your other shell pieces inside the white cabinet. I agree with Bernideen "your knowledge of Victorian makes visiting with you a wonderful visit". Look forward to seeing more of your Romantic Victorian sharing.

  3. Love seeing these beautiful gifts from the sea displayed so well. A terrific job of restoring the box. Always refreshing to visit your posts, seeing such wonderful treasures and reading about their history.

  4. Gina, I love your seashell art collection. I have one small antique box, and I've been collecting shells whenever we've visited the coasts, in hopes of perhaps making my own boxes. . .Your whole tableau is lovely with the cameos included.

  5. I agree with Bernideen you are our Victorian Queen who knows it all about that era.
    Your box turned out perfect as I knew it would. They all look great together with the cameos.
    Now post more often so the blogger world can see your fabulous collections

  6. My what a grand collection you have! The cameo reminds me I have my Great Grandmothers and I have a cameo necklace I have from when I was a teenager. I am to nervous to wear the cameo...such a treasure.

  7. Gina, your collections just amaze me. They are all so beautiful and these are no exception. I have always heard the story that the seashell designs were from sailors, coming home for the seas, and bringing them to the loves of their lives. Don't know if it is a true fact, but surely a romantic one..Happy Wednesday..Judy

    1. Hi Judy, thanks for your visit. Actual sailor's Valentine's were made in a hinged flat octagonal, round or rectangular box, with a seashell design on both sides of the opened box, on the right side and on the left side. The boxes and wall hangings were made by the ladies at home as a favorite pastime, or as souvenirs. They quite often were used as dresser boxes. Such pretty works of art!  

  8. I love your cameo collection. I have one that my sweet husband bought me at the drug store for our first anniversary. He only had $5 to spend, but it was a gift from his heart and I will treasure it forever.

  9. Such a charming shell collection...many happy hours spent by the ladies, chatting and drinking tea... Great cameo collection as well!

  10. What a beautiful collection of sea shells. You did a great job restoring the shell box. A true labor of love. I also enjoyed your cameo collection. So sweet and what a blessing to have your grandmother's piece.

    Have a wonderful weekend.


  11. Your shell boxes are gorgeous Gina! And you fixed the new one up nicely. I remember someone having a shell box when I was little, but can't my finger on who in my family it was. You have done a beautiful job of displaying them! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  12. What a beautiful collection of cmeos and shell boxes. I think cameos are priceless and beautiful. Congratulations and finding all of these treasures.

  13. Gina, what a lovely collection you have! Thank you for sharing @Vintage Charm!

  14. Giving your beautiful collection of shell art a feature this morning for "Let's Talk Vintage!" Have a wonderful day! ~Jill

  15. Beautiful Sailor's Valentines! I did a post on those a few years back. You have some nice ones! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!