Hidden Beauty: Quahog Shells

sea shell hunting

Cindy Bilbao is a lifelong artist and photographer who focuses on the water and the coast.

“I’ve never been lucky enough to live next to the water, but I’ve always lived just a day trip or a car ride away and frequently take advantage of this close proximity to visit the beach each chance I get,” she says.

The author of Sea Glass, Sea Glass Searcher's Guideand Sea Glass Seeker, Cindy has just completed her latest book, Seashells. We asked her about some of her favorite shells. 

calico scallop shell

“Two of my favorite shells are total opposites: the Calico Scallop and the Quahog, and visually they couldn’t be more different!” says Cindy. “I love discovering and photographing the Calico Scallop. All I can think of is a sunrise or sunset with the sun’s rays cutting through a pink tinted sky!”

quahog shell on the beach

But what about the Quahog? In comparison quahogs seem dull and visually unappealing. Cindy explains, “They look white-washed and salt-weathered, much like the shingled houses of New England that I so love.” She continues, “But that’s just their outside shell; when you turn them over and inspect their inner shell you find bursts of purple.” 

purple wampum shells

Grab a copy of Cindy’s seashell book before you head out to the beach to learn all about these treasures in the sand. 

“Keep your eyes peeled when you’re out beachcombing and take the time to examine the shells you find on the beach,” she says. “They are fascinating.”

Seashells by Cindy Bilbao

Seashells by Cindy Bilbao (May 2019, Countryman Press), is currently available wherever books are sold.

This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine January/February 2019 issue.

Learn more about seashells

nature and history of seashells and collecting

Learn more about identifying shells, the history of seashell collecting, great shelling beaches, and the lives of the animals who make the shells we find on the beach. Articles ›

No live shelling: Be sure shells are empty and sand dollars, sea stars, and sea urchins are no longer alive before you bring them home.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published