Mr. G. R. Corner mentions a very elegant cup in the possession of the Queen, made of staves of turbo-shell mounted on a stem and foot of silver gilt. He also adds that the polished, but unmounted turbo, has been employed as a festive cup in Wales, to a comparatively late period.*
* As quoted in 'The Midland Hardware District,' edited by Samuel Thnmius, containing ' Papier Maché Manufacture,' by W. C. Ritken, Birmingham.
† Bruce's 'Travels,' see Appendix, vol viii. pp. 337, 338.
‡'Gems and Jewels.
We read also of a watch set in "mother-of-pearle, with three pendantes of gold, garnished with sparkes of rubies, and an opall in everie of them, and three small pearles pendent," which Lord Russell presented to Queen Elizabeth; and Margaret, Countess of Derby, presented her with another, as a New Year's gift. "It was a white bear of gold and mother-of-perle holding a ragged staffe (the 'Leicester' device) standing upon a tonne of golde, whearin is a clocke, the same tonne-staffe garnished with dyamondes and rubies".† The Cathedral at Panama has two towers, with short steeples on them painted white, and these steeples are said by Mr. Elwes to be faced with the large pearl-oyster shells; but they do not look well.‡
Glass is seldom seen in Manilla for glazing windows, but the shells of the Chinese oyster (Placuna placenta) are used instead; § and in certain parts of Amoy, the municipal lamps are made in the shape of a granite shaft, surrounded by a wooden box glazed with shells. The shells are well washed, and scrubbed, and then cut into squares, and slid into grooves cut to receive them in the frame of the lamp. |||
The scabbard of the sword of the Emperor Napoleon I., which he wore when First Consul, is of gold and mother-of-pearl; and mock pearls are now much used for jewellery made of the pearl-shell; the effect being nearly as good as real pearls, and far better than the most successful imitations in paste; and Theophilus, in his 'Essay on various Arts,' speaks of "sea-shells which are cut into pieces, and filed as pearls, sufficiently useful upon gold".* Various kinds of shells are used for ornamental purposes, on account of their beautiful nacreous layer: e. g. a Mediterranean species of the little Phasianella, which is made into necklaces, ear-riugs, etc, and known in England as Venetian shells; and in Paris I noticed some pretty bracelets, brooches, earrings, necklaces, and studs, made of the Trigonia pectinata, an Australian bivalve, so arranged as to show the bright pinkish-purple nacre inside the valves. Mr. Moseley tells us that numbers of this species of Trigonia are dredged in Port Jackson, Sydney, and that this shell is especially interesting to the naturalist, because it occurs fossil in secondary deposits in Europe, and was long supposed to be entirely a thing of the past, until discovered living in Sydney Harbour,† Pearl-oyster shells, set in whale's teeth, are considered to be the most valuable ornament that can be possessed by a Figian; he wears it hanging on his breast, and he is forbidden by the chiefs to sell it.‡ In the Api Islands nearly all the men wear a small triangular ornament-cut out of the septa of the pearly nautilus shell, threaded by the siphon hole in it, tied to their necks; and I have seen similar pieces of shell from Queensland, which are worn by the "gins" on Sandy Island, Maryborough, and strung as necklaces in the same manner. They prize them very highly, and it required much persuasion to induce them to part with those we have. The Miranhá Indians wear on holidays a large button made of the pearly river-shell, in a slit cut in the middle of each nostril;* and Sir Samuel Baker states that the women of the Shir tribe, living on the White Nile, make girdles and necklaces of small pieces of river mussel-shells, threaded upon the hair of the giraffe's tail, and that the effect is nearly the same as a string of mother-of-pearl buttons.† In an old book of recipes entitled the 'Druggist's Shop opened,' it says, "Mother-of-pearl is of an alkalious substance, and Cordial; good against Faintings, Swoonings, and Palpitations of the Heart, .... it is good against Melancholy, and Malign, and burning Fevers, Measles, Smallpox, etc".
* 'Journal of Archaeological Association,' vol. xiv. pp. 344, 345. † 'Curiosities of Clocks and Watches,' etc, by Edward J. Wood. ‡ ' W.S.W., or a voyage in that direction to the West Indies.' § Collingwood's ' Naturalist's Rambles,' p. 294. || 'Flight of the Lapwing'.
* Theophilus, 'Qui et Rugerus,' etc, translated by Robert Hendrie chap. xcv. p. 391.
† 'A Naturalist on the Challenger,' by H. N. Moseley, p. 148. ‡ Idem.
A large species of Haliotis is eaten at the Cape of Good Hope and is prepared by pounding. No iron is allowed to touch it in preparation; it must be loosened from the shell with horn or wood implements, and then pounded with stone or wood, and finally stewed. It is considered that if iron touches the fish it becomes rigidly contracted, and hopelessly tough. ‡
Through the kindness of Mr. Morton, of St. Clements, Jersey, I am enabled to give the following recipe for cooking the Sea-ear: -