Summer's gifts of gentle breezes, brilliant sunshine, and time off-schedule are enough to make our minds wander to beautiful places and times well spent. For every summer story that is told, we can be sure that there is a whisper and a nod to sea shells. They are the jewels in the stories of our childhood memories at the beach. They become precious keepsakes for first loves, long walks on the beach, and times spent watching our children splash about in the sea.
When I was a girl, my mom had a beautiful pale pink shell (shown above) sitting in the soap cove of her bath. I would soak in her bath, hold the shell to my ear, and listen to the gentle breeze that played inside. It was like a modern-day playlist of all my memories growing up at the beach. It is one of my greatest treasures and eventually influenced my jewelry designs.
Shells have been symbols in architectural design, furniture design, jewelry, and paintings for centuries. They are the symbols of sensuality seen in works by Botticelli, in the designs of Leonardo da Vinci who often drew upon nature for his inspiration, and in the Rococo shell chairs Matisse painted in the 18th century. More recently, Tony Duquette's use of shells was reflected in his opulent design style, Thomas Boog continues to create over-the-top objects in his Paris design studio, and iconic jeweler, Verdura, is known for using the shell motif in many of their designs.
When I began imagining and developing my first collection of upscale jewelry in New York, I referenced my youth growing up near Santa Barbara and time spent at Miramar Beach. The Camille K Miramar cuff and earrings make strong statements, ones that are very personal to me. Of course, I would be remiss in not acknowledging the Couture shell cuff (shown above) that started it all! It features real turban shells sewn on 18th century French gold and silver bullion trims. We continue to sell these as limited pieces upon request.
Many years ago after a visit with my Mother, she handed me a small wrapped package along with her hug goodbye. Inside was the shell from her bath... and in her soft voice, she advised me to listen in whenever I felt too far from home.
May you enjoy your last days of summer and savor all the memories you make.