Did you know that throughout history cowrie shells have been used as currency? In fact, once upon a time - to some people they were worth more than gold! Here are 10 fabulous facts about cowries you absolutely need to know!
🐚A cowrie is a form of sea creature called a ‘marine gastropod mollusc’
🐚There are over 250 species of cowrie and they typically live in shallow water in warmer oceans.
🐚Found washed up on many beaches these beautiful shells are especially prolific in the Maldives, India and along the East African Coast.
🐚The Romans called these shells porcellana due to their shiny, smooth finish and this is where the word porcelain comes from.
🐚The Ancient Egyptians used these shells as a currency.
🐚Cowrie shells were still used as the official currency in some West African countries until as recently as 1903.
🐚When the French prohibited the use of cowries as money in 1907, many tribal elders in the region resisted by refusing to include the new money in their monetary system; this resistance lasted until the 1940s.
🐚The currency of Ghana (the Cedi) takes its name from the cowrie shell.
🐚These shells have also been associated with fertility in many cultures.
🐚The cowrie shell has many uses and meanings but, due to their historical use a form of currency, they almost always symbolise wealth, prosperity and power.