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The best things I have collected in my life are my shells. They gave me the pleasure of their prodigious structure, the lunar purity of their mysterious porcelain.
Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

My collection from Madagascar

Anthozoa, Cephalopoda, Echinozoa
It is perhaps a more fortunate destiny to have a taste for collecting shells than to be born a millionaire.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

History, description and identification of seashells

I have the world's largest collection of seashells. I keep it on all the beaches of the world... perhaps you've seen it.
Steven Wright (1955)


why this site exhibit your collection on the Internet ! talented women

Seashell collecting is not a shameful disease, rather a virus that has infected many celebrities :

  • Scipio the African, Roman general
  • Louis XIII, King of France
  • Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia
  • Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
  • Edgar Allan Poe, poet “architect” of the modern short story
  • Albert the first, Prince of Monaco
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, Scot travel writer
  • Hirohito, Emperor of Japan
  • Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet-diplomat
  • Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond
  • Fidel Castro,the Cuban revolutionary and politician (anecdote regarding CIA)

Human interest in seashells dates back to prehistoric times and they still have a strong spiritual symbologyscallop St-James. Shell collections have been found in caves in Burgundy dating from the Neanderthal, in Mayan temples in Yucatán and in the ruins of Pompeii.

Originally, seashells were first a source of foodseafood and then were used to make toolsweapon, jewelryjewelry, dyesBolinus brandaris and also as a means of barterMonetaria moneta. They later inspired architectsSydney opera, mathematiciansseashell shape and poems.

Seahells are still a surprising source of lessons in the fields of archeomalacolology, medicineconotoxin, astronomymoon and nautilus and biomimicrymussel hooked by its byssus.

Why this site

- Genesis

I have inherited a collection of shells mainly from Diego-Suarez (Madagascar). It is not only composed of shells (gastropods and bivalves) but also of nautilus, sea urchin, argonauts, corals.

I was only 6 or 7 years old, and I remember the weekends on these vast deserted beaches of Diego-Suarez where, with my father, we spent hours collecting shells and corals. Over time, my parents built up a remarkable collection which they brought back from Madagascar. Shortly before their death, the house had to be sold and for lack of space, all the shells were quickly packed and piled up in a basement for years while they were the pride of my parents.

Now retired, I have decided to give them a second life. For this, Internet seems to me the best way to expose them to potential amateurs. So I gradually brought out the shells from the basement to photograph and measure them, then I repacked them and put them back in the basement (hopeful of finding a definitive place). As we open our Christmas presents, I opened, week after week, many suitcases filled with seashells!

Before creating the site it required a hard work to produce its content :

  • photograph (front, back and possibly in profile) each specimen of several hundred species
  • crop each photo on a transparent background and fusion of the different views into a single image
  • Identify hundreds of species took me a long time burning the midnight oil and it is quite possible that some are still wrong, I humbly accept your enlightened remarks. I had no certainty about their origins (some shells were collected on the spot but, others bought from local merchants). One can however reasonably assume that they come mainly from the East African coasts or the Indian Ocean.
  • for each family, write a description sheet (common names, common appearance of the shells, food, living environment)

This is how I got a taste for the world of seashells and I now understand better why they have fascinated so many people for so long. To my surprise, I discovered on the beaches of the French Riviera, many shells from different families (Bullidae, Cerithidae, Columbellidae, Conidae, Cypraeidae, Haliotidae, Pisanidae, Trochidae, Triviidae , Vermetidae, Arcidae, Limidae, ...) which enriched my collection!

Drawing on the experience of my research, I wrote a mini-guide for identification of shells which :

  • lists some websites that have been of great help to me
  • for each seashell family, its classification (Family ← Super-family ← Order)
  • indicates some observation keys on certain details of the shells

However, to be able to identify a shell you need to know a certain number of specific terms and a minimum knowledge of the anatomy and structure of a shell. So, I made a compilation of information available on the web : shells for dummies

- Creation of this site

At the beginning, I wrote a small utility (a bash script) to make my job easier and to update the site automatically as much as possible after each modification :

I used three powerful free softwares :

  • "ImageMagick" for pictures batch processing
  • "LibreOffice Draw" for the diagrams
  • "Gimp" for image editing

Time passing, I added features and improved ergonomics. This program can now create websites from various "collections".

The success of free software is due to the sharing of "source code".
In this spirit, this site provides the application that allows you to create sites on this model.

Talented women

Clémentine does not have the support of any producer, never goes on the radio and yet what talent! much more than the "sons or daughters of ..." who enjoy wide publicity despite a barely average artistic level, what a waste ...
listen to this voice, there is nothing to add

Clementine Evayoko

(facebook : 4 views)

Clementine Evayoko - youtube

(youtube : 9 views)

The Arsène space in Saint-Paul-en-Cornillon hosted a vernissage dedicated to ceramics. We were able to discover the works of Françoise, a young and talented retiree. The link opposite shows some of these creations.


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