The Scallop Shell
And The Wonder Years
The ages 10-12 in my memory were the wonder years. They were a time when everything seemed possible. I was a scientist, a chemist, a physicist, an inventor, an archaeologist, an astronomer, a mariner, a capitalist, an investor, and an engineer. If you have grandchildren pay close attention to what your 10-12 year olds are up to. It’s potentially more fascinating than any book you might read, any courses you might take or any trip you might go on.
Summers I spent at the sea shore. I remember the summer I discovered gold I was absolutely convinced it was real, the color was right. It was embedded in a gray rock and was in crystalline form in little cubes of glittering gold. I told no one.
This treasure was in the tide pools between bluffs covered in seaweed and barnacles and on the opposite side rust colored cliffs leading to land. I told no one because I wanted to keep it all. I went every day with pails to collect the rocks. The rocks were beautiful with gold crystals scattered across the surface. Some rocks even had white quartz embedded with some gold crystals. I brought back everything I found back to the cottage because I wanted to keep my discovery secret. The cottage we were staying in my dad was building. The underside was all white beach sand and had not been closed in yet. This is where I had hammers and screwdrivers to chip the gold crystals out. I also had glass peanut butter jars with screw tops to put my treasures into. Each day I was accumulating 3, 4, 5 ounces of gold. I was getting rich fast. I kept up my mining for almost two weeks.
My grandfather Cross was a jeweler. I knew I had an in and someone who would be able to help me cash in my treasure trove. His cottage was 80 feet from ours. I remember exactly where I stood in his living room and where he was standing. When I told him of my discovery I brought out a plastic topped 35mm film canister and told him I had found gold on the beach. I poured the crystals onto his hand. He took one look and in two seconds said “fool’s gold”. I said “Gramp you didn’t even look”, He said “Iron pyrite, fool’s gold”. I said “But the color is gold they’re crystals”. He said “That’s why it’s called fool’s gold”.
I still can feel the disappointment it was like a heavy arc across my shoulders. 65 years later I can still feel my disappointment It was so strong I can taste the disappointment because I had worked so hard and been so convinced it was real.
The fool’s gold wasn’t the only thing I found in the tide pools. Normally the 50 foot space between the bluffs and cliffs was filled with beach sand and at high tide it was covered in 4 feet of water. Tidal currents had moved the sand to reveal tide pools to reveal a pure smooth thick creamy blue gray clay. I would later learn it was called marine clay. What was curious about it was that it was chock full of sea shells. What was even more puzzling was the shells embedded in this clay were totally foreign, unlike anything in our ocean, unlike anything that washed up on our beach. Often similar but totally different.
These were the wooly mastodons of sea shells. There were thick bone white razor clams. The walls were thicker. They were bigger than the delicate razor thing razor clams of today. There were bone white great northern whelks. They were bigger and had a more clear step like spiral shells. Then there were scallop shells. Most were charcoal grey, quite flat with wings at the top and dramatic radiant stripes on the outside.
We had nothing like them that had ever washed in our beach in my lifetime. These scallops were solidly embedded in the clay. Most were vertically oriented. None of the scallops showed a front and back shell together almost all were a little bigger than a silver dollar none came tiny sizes. For every 50 gray shells found we would find an orange scallop shell.
I collected the shells and saved the scallop shells because they were beautiful and unique on our beach.
I’m still a collector a scientist and an historian. I still have several small containers of the iron pyrite, fool’s gold, and a dozen or so of the scallop shells in my attic. Someday my children will find them and have no idea what they represent. The fool’s gold I understand. The scallop shells in the marine clay is still a mystery.
Kids are good scientists they do pure science. The ancient scallop shells perhaps someday someone will explain to me the mystery of the marine clay and the shells it contained.
The scallop is one of the most beautiful shells in the sea. Scallops are found all over the world. The out-flowing lines from a common point on the shell is part of the mystery and a big part of the beauty of the shell.
Over the years we have seen hundreds of scallop jewelry designs I’ve liked many of them. I discovered one which we declared to be the world’s most beautiful scallop. We made it in 3 sizes and built a collection.
We call our collection: Scallop Shells the Wonder Years. When you wear one of our wonder year scallops the light ripples across the surface the recessed grooves are antiqued the shell possesses radiant beauty.
Our number 1 recommendation is our X4506 our medium world’s most beautiful scallop shell at $185.
#2 favorite is X 3117 the small dangle earring at $235.
#3 favorite is X3104 large scallop pin it makes a great set.
You will dazzle all who see you when you wear one piece or show up with the entire set.
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