Turn Oyster Shells into Jewelry!

Turn Oyster Shells into Jewelry!

oyster shell earrings

Turning Oyster Shells into Earrings

So you have combed the beach and found some special treasures to take home. Now what to do with them besides putting them in a glass jar, never really to be seen again? Jewelry. Let's make some!

So many unique treasures can wash up of the shores, and depending on which beach your on the type of shells, various colors of shells, and coral can be vastly different. That's probably why you enjoy it, just like I do! 

I've been making oyster shell jewelry for about 4 years while living here in Charleston SC, and I'm here to share how I do it. For earring making, thinner shells will work better to add a hole and also keep it not too heavy. Like the earrings above, I chose a thin yet solid oyster shells about 1 1/2 - 2 inches in length. I also give mine the "snap test" buy simply trying to snap it in half before even beginning working on it. Trust me on this this one! 


Speaking of drilling...

How do you put a hole in an oyster shell without it breaking? Good question! There are many videos out there on this subject, and a few different methods. But this doesn't have to be tricky or complicated. 

If you already have a Dremel or drill with a standard size small drill bit- you're in business! My advice is to just look at the tip, and pick one that you think is just right. Ex: for earrings- the hole will be smaller than a necklace or bracelet.

The nice thing about making jewelry is the shells are not too thick and putting a hole in is quite easy. 


* Dremel or drill

* Small drill bit

* A block of wood- any size 

* Earring findings

* Jewelry tool kit


Carefully steady the shell on the block of wood, and while holding it in place with one hand, drill your hole at the top, like the picture below. Be careful not drill to high or the shell can break. It takes a little practice!


Once you have a good collection, the fun yet tedious part of matching them up for earrings begins! If you don't quite have the patience for that, starting with a necklace might be more rewarding. 

For earrings, choices of findings are endless, like gold, gold plated, silver, and brass. Also, their are many style choices. Personally, for my business, I use 14K gold plated hooks because not only are they beautiful but also durable, not easily deformed, and safer for sensitive skin types. 

Now all you need is your round nose pliers from your jewelry kit  to slip it into your drilled hole. I love this one from Amazon because the value for the money is unbeatable. It's includes everything you need to get started making various types of jewelry, all packed into one handy case. 


I hope this info was helpful to you as you begin making beautiful jewelry out of your beach treasures. 


Stay creative, friends!  

Jennifer Matthews

Owner / Artisan Island Oyster






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