Mesoamerican shell cuff adornments

Although my primary purpose in collecting antique objects is to hold and research body adornment jewelry, over the years I have picked up some pieces that are fascinating from a technical or cultural perspective (such as obsidian micro blade cores and shell beads), and some pieces that although I believed to be body adornments, I couldn't prove it. Such was the case with these curved shell forms which I immediately believed to be earrings, although I had never seen an example until a visit to the national museum of anthropology in Mexico City.

Some chats with others suggested they may be finger holds for 'atlatl' (spear throwers), but I believed them to have purpose as body adornments that would hang from various parts of the ear or also from headdresses or belts, just as ear flares and other objects were worn in many different ways. Unfortunately, I had no legitimate confirmation or historical reference for them being used in this way. On a visit to the Museo de Anthropologia in Mexico City, I was excited to find multiple instances of these objects being displayed with other adornments of shell and stone (ear flares, strands of beads, etc).


I also ran across a reconstructed burial display where these objects were displayed around the skull, further suggesting a body adornment scenario.

With these finds, I'm excited to display these pieces among my other body adornment jewelry from Prehispanic cultures and continue researching how they were made and worn. With shell being one of the more unusual and underrepresented materials used in body adornment,  and among the first and oldest of all adornment materials in the Prehispanic Americas and elsewhere, I'm thrilled to have this new knowledge.

Return Policy

We want you to be happy with your purchase! If you can't wear our jewelry, then we've our wasted precious time and material, and nobody is happy. Contact us immediately about any issues and we'll see what we can do for you.

Our products are shipped sealed in clear plastic, and it's possible view all aspects of the jewelry without opening this plastic. Please examine your jewelry closely. Once you open the plastic, we can no longer accept a return or exchange. No exceptions.

If your jewelry arrives damaged, that's on us.

We will replace (if possible), substitute (with your permission), or refund (last resort) your order.

If your jewelry was made with the wrong specifications, and the specifications you provided meet our sizing guidelines, we'll make it right.

However, we cannot be held responsible for misunderstandings related to size conversions or how to measure wearing length or flare sizes. We provide a size guide on each product page for your convenience.

If your jewelry is not to your liking aesthetically, let's talk.

Please understand that we are working with natural materials that vary in color, pattern, and texture not just between tree to tree or stone to stone, but within the same piece of material. We take detailed product photos, and clearly explain each piece. We encourage you to learn about the materials and styles, and ask any questions you might have. We cannot promise very specific color requests, patterns, etc. If we have not disclosed something, or we come to agree that we have not accurately described what you've purchased, we will work with you to make it right.

Restocking Fee

We charge a restocking fee on pieces we have made to your specifications. We are open to reducing the restocking fee on returns if you opt for store credit rather than a refund.

For stocked and made-to-order items without custom specifications there is no fee!

For made-to-order items with custom specifications and custom orders cancelled before completion the fee is 20% of the jewelry cost.

The fee for custom specifications and custom orders is because the jewelry was made to fit you specifically, and/or because we have corresponded, booked time in our custom queue, done sketches, cut and prepared materials, etc.

Jewelry Damage/Replacement

We guarantee our jewelry to be free from manufacturing defects, but we can make no guarantees about materials due to the unpredictability of natural materials. If there is an issue resulting from the production process (workmanship) we'll make it right and repair or replace as necessary.

Once jewelry has been removed from our sealed plastic packaging, we have no control over the storage conditions or handling of your jewelry, and we cannot be held responsible for any damage.

If your jewelry requires basic repairs due to accidental damage, we're happy to work with you to make sure you have something wearable. We will, at our discretion, and at no cost to you, repair by means of sanding, shaping, or polishing to make a piece safe to wear. This may not "fix" aesthetic issues but will remove sharp edges. Shipping both ways is your responsibility.

If your jewelry cannot be repaired, we're happy to work with you on options for replacement.