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.