Sea shell novelties, or shellwork antiques,




have quite a few of us “lined and sinkered” with their beauty.









Shell boxes, pincushions, and other 19th century trinkets





have always been at the top of many lists




when seeking out decorative objects for our home.








We live near the ocean, so these are a natural “match” for us






at FrenchGardenHouse.







Sailors and sea voyagers would bring these charming hand made shell encrusted beauties





home for their loved ones at the end of a long journey.











Heart shaped items, or boxes with heart motifs were meant



for wives and sweethearts.








Many of the early shellwork boxes were made in ports of call




in home businesses, eager to profit from the many sailors that frequented their shores.








When the shellwork art pieces became so popular,





English and French companies started producing




miniature dressers, vanities and boxes as Victorian amusements.








If you love the ocean, and folk art,





collecting antique sea shell boxes is a natural fit!








Hark, now hear the sailors cry,
Smell the sea, and feel the sky,
Let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic.

Van Morrison







Are you an ocean lover at heart?




Don’t miss our latest collection of



French and English 19th century shell antiques.





à bientôt

If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.


  1. Hi Lidy,
    I always loved bringing a part of the ocean into my home during the summer months, and would stop at unique shell shops in Florida while on vacation during the winter months and pick out some lovely collections. I would decorate mirror frames and little boxes with the shells, It was always fun incorporating a design that would fix perfectly onto the piece I was working on at the time. During the summer I would decorate tabletops, shelves, and dresser tops in my rooms with these treasures that I created. Love your collection at the French Garden House.

    1. Hi Janice! Oh wow, I bet that your creations are just beautiful! xo

  2. Shirley, how fun! The shell work antique pieces are so gorgeous, but at one time we sold shell pieces made by a local artist that were amazing! I know her art work will be gorgeous!

  3. Linda Ori

    Do you know you live a charmed life?? I love everything you feature, your very informative articles about the history and care ofvintage pieces, gardening, recipes…
    The little slice of sharing of your childhood picture and story with your Mother was sooo precious!

    Do you have Dutch ancestry in you as well as French?

    Always being obsessed with shells, the ocean and sea, your article was so fascinating because I’ve always been obsessed with shells as well.
    I started collecting shell spoons decades ago ans have a small collection that I treasure. I don’t eat oysters either, but I’m in love with so many of the antique oyster plates. Wall mounting them is genius!

    May I ask your birthdate, not the year? Those born into Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio signs are usually drawn to all things relating to WATER. I have heavy WATER in my astrological chart.

    Lastly, did you mention a back issue of VICTORIA that featured seashells as well? I did find the ROMANTIC HOMES magazine.

    Merci Lidy.

    1. Linda, thank you so much! I am actually Dutch, and a Pisces. : ) The other article about sea shells I wrote was in Victorian Homes Magazine, it was a sister magazine to Romantic Homes Magazine.

  4. Linda Ori

    Just sayin’ bout the water signs…

    I forgot to mention I have a white Greek female bust with seashells for her hair n round her chest – very unusual- that I adore.

    Also, when I redid my enclosed porch in Key West style, I put in Ernest Hemingway’s “Conch” wood floor and white plantation shutters. I did this because I live in Chicago ans wanted to have the island style year round.

    Can you tell me what issue of the VICTORIAN HOME MAG so I can look for it?

    Merci again Lidy…


    1. Linda, it was the summer 2017 issue of Victorian Homes Magazine.

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