Shell

Snail shell (Period)

Snail shell (Period)

Whelk (Period)

Whelk (Period)

A shell is the hard outer covering used by some molluscs and fish for protection.  The most common heraldic shell is the escallop, but others are also found:  the “whelk”, with its opening to chief by default, found in the canting arms of Shelley, 1526 [Wagner 93]; and the “snail shell”, with its opening to dexter by default, found in the canting arms (German Schnecke) of Schneckhaus, 1605 [Siebmacher 72].  These are drawn in a somewhat stylized manner.  Society armory also has instances of other sea-shells, such as the “nautilus shell”, “cowrie shell” and the “sand-dollar”, which are emblazoned more naturalistically.

Period heralds seem to have used whelks and escallops interchangeably; therefore, Society armory grants no difference between the various types of shell.  See also snail.

Muriel qui porte les chaperons bears:  Vert, three whelks argent.

Ealasaid an Dubhghlais bears:  Gules, a fess checky sable and Or between four snail shells argent.

Ia of the Sea bears:  Vert scaly argent, a nautilus shell, opening to dexter chief Or.

Amina of Songhay bears:  Or, a bald Mooress’s head cabossed and on a chief sable three cowrie shells fesswise argent.

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