How to String Cowrie Shells

Written by samantha volz
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How to String Cowrie Shells
Cowrie shells can make beautiful homemade jewellery. (black cowrie shell 2. image by mdb from

A trip to the seashore often results in fun memories and harsh sunburns, but can also lead to a grand collection of seashells. Among these shells are cowrie shells. Unlike other seashells, which are open on one side and decorated on the other, cowries feature a closed-in shape with a small slit on one side. The shells often feature colourful and vibrant decorations, so they are a prime choice for jewellery. These shells sometimes feature natural holes that make them perfect for stringing onto jewellery cord. You can create beautiful pieces of homemade jewellery that will always remind you of days in the sun and sand.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Nylon cord
  • Cowrie shells
  • Beads

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  1. 1

    Measure a strong piece of nylon cord or jewellery string around your neck, wrist or wherever you want to wear the cowrie shell. When you have the appropriate size for your piece, add another 4 inches to allow for tying a knot.

  2. 2

    Thread one end of your cord through the front of the hole in your cowrie shell, pushing firmly until the cord appears from the other end. Slide the shell down the cord until it sits at the centre.

  3. 3

    Tie a simple knot in the cord with the two loose ends. Pull the ends tightly until the knot sits snugly against the top of the shell. This shell forms the central piece of your necklace; it will not move around on the cord thanks to the knot.

  4. 4

    Thread each end of the cord through other cowrie shells, beads or other jewelery pieces until you have achieved the desired look of your necklace or bracelet.

  5. 5

    Tie the two ends of the cord together in a slipknot to secure your piece of jewellery. The slipknot will allow you to adjust the size of the jewellery if necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • If your cowrie shell doesn't feature a natural hole, you can insert the cord into the fold and push it into place with a needle. You can also create your own hole for your string using a needle or screwdriver.
  • Find cowrie shells in nature along beaches or from jewellery supply retailers or seashell retailers.

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