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Mother of Pearl Sea Shell Braided Cord Belt, 1960s
The shell has long since been an artistic symbol of beauty and femininity. Drawing this connotation from Botticelli’s 15th century painting The Birth of Venus, the shimmering shell serves as a source of wonder, acting as a common motif in sea inspired designs or softer, more serene inspirations.
This belt, presumably from the 1950s or 1960s, is made from an abalone shell that radiates a mother of pearl quality into pale neutral tones. The shell is connected to a white gold braided cord on either side by the braid being woven through drilled holes in the shell and knotted adding a bead-like textural element to contrast the shells flat smoothness. At the ends of the belt, the braid untwines into three tassels on each side. A shell belt trend seems to have arisen in the 1950s following the usage of similar items as parts of costumes in films produced by the Cinecitta Roma Studio and is likely to reemerge as a modern trend given its bohemian, proto-hipster aesthetic.
Size estimate: one size fits most
Length: 25 inches of braided rope on each side & 21 inches of fringed rope on each side
Shell: Width: 3 3/4 inches x 4 inches long
This shell belt is in excellent condition and is awaiting to be styled in new, upbeat ways. Though it measures perfectly for a belt, it doubles as a dramatic statement necklace for any spring/summer dress that has a framing neckline. High-quality vintage pieces like this are yours to live in and love while increasing in value every year. It’s never too soon to start collecting them, as an investment in your wardrobe—and in yourself.