When we say we can make anything for a client here at Nicholas Wylde, we truly mean that and love it when unusual commissions come into our workshop.
Such was the case for one client who wanted something taken directly from nature and a reminder of a memorable holiday turned into something a little more durable for the future.
The client brought in a ‘pansy shell’ for us to recreate in 18ct white gold. A Pansy Shell is the remains of a sea urchin which live and burrow just beneath the sand in both shallow and deeper waters and found in warmer climates on the planet. Covered in velvet-textured ‘spines ‘and fine ‘hairs’, they feed on crustacean larvae and algae. The classic bone-white shell found by beachcombers is once the spines and hairs have fallen off and the skeleton has been bleached white by the sun.
In South Africa these are known as Pansy Shells but in other parts of the world, relatives of the Pansy are known as the Sand Dollar, Sea Cookie and Snapper Biscuit and the shell has attained mythical proportions with wonderful tales of its origins, including the lost coins of Atlantis.
Many beachcombers worldwide have their eyes open for such shells but it’s VERY doubtful you’ll find one in solid 18ct gold! Unless, of course, the shell is given the ‘Wylde Effect’!