Full Version: Please help me identify this seashell from Asia
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I just got this polished seashell dish. Its dimensions are: 9.75" x 6".

Could anyone help me identify the name of this seashell (the main seashell, NOT the added leg seashell) please? I really appreciate it.

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Hi there, it is not a seashell, in fact it is a freshwater mussel in the family Unionidae but without knowing exactlly where it came from I can't tell you what species. They come in nature with a brown outside, this is abraded off to give a completely pearly shell.
Have a look at this website to find out more about freshwater mussels.
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Hi Dave,

Thank you very much for your information. I believe this mussel shell is from South East Asia but am not sure exactly from which particular country. My friend has a situation regarding the spoons made from this seashell and I really appreciate your opinion. Below is the story:

He has spoons (about 4.5" long) made from this exact mussel family and he is selling them and clearly stated that these spoons are mother of pearl spoons. I am attaching a picture of one of the spoons and this mussel shell together. He sold the spoons to a customer and this customer wrote to him, I quote:

"This is not mother of pearl, its male troca shell(oyok) Trochidae"

My friend then wrote to her a letter telling her that this spoons are Mother of pearl by taking the definition of mother of pearl from the Webster dictionary "the hard pearly iridescent substance forming the inner layer of a mollusk shell"

After that he got this message from the customer:

“thanks for the clarification.. i guess my 4 years biology mollusk major didnt help at all.. i need to go back to the dictionary for what a genuine mother of pearl really is.. your shell is troca or family of troca , shelled mollusk , non porcellaneous and non nacreous , which gives it a dull finish non iridiscent shine...i hope that helps... your supplier in Asia should be able to tell you its scientific name"

Believe me, this is not a letter from goodwill because at the same time this angry customer left a very bad review on his website saying that the spoons are "not mother of pearl, it's troca shell, hense it looks and feels like plastic" .

My friend was angry too because the spoons are NOT made from Troca shell, they are from the same exact mussel I just showed you. How can a spoon like the one you are seeing is made from spiral troca shell. He believes this customer is ignorant despite what she claims her 4 years studying mollusk and wants to write a letter to respond to this customer to show she is absolutely wrong.

Please give your very objective opinion in this case and what you think my friend should write to this customer. My friend is angry too and he wants to give her a lesson.

Many thanks and appreciate your opinion!!

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Added: And my friend believes even troca shell is considered mother of pearl (even though the spoons are not from troca shell"
By Troca shell I believe she means<i> Trochus niloticus</i>, the Commercial Trochus. This was used for many years for making buttons and yes, it is mother of pearl. Unfortunately the term 'Mother of Pearl' can mean many types of shell; freshwater mussels such as yours, <i>Trochus</i>, <i>Turbo</i>,<i> Haliotis </i>(Abalone, paua or ear shell) and some other <i>Trochidae</i>. Your friend's spoon certainly does not look like it was made from Trochus shell as it would be too curved, it does look to me like it was made from a freshwater mussel (and I am aware that these objects are being made in S.E.Asia)but it could just possibly be made from a lagre Turban shell such as <i>Turbo marmoratus</i> but it is unlikely as large specimens of this species are becoming rare and hard to get. It would be worth much more as a specimen shell.
I hope this has been helpful.
Hi Dave,

Thank you for your information. My friend confirms that the spoons are made from the freshwater shell that I showed and they are made in SE Asia. I agree, the term "mother of pearl" can mean many types of shells, including this freshwater mussel as well as Trochus niloticus.

This can prove that this customer is so ignorant and unreasonable and as a result my friend's business got a bad product review which really does damage to his business. Others reading her review may think he's selling plastic spoons and don't buy. Actually the spoons are made with high quality, thick and very long and straight 4.5" and obviously too straight for being made from Trochus niloticus

My friend wants to write back to this customers to dispute her. Obviously, this customer knows little about shells but wanted to brag that she knows a lot (I am not sure how she could finish her degree)and made a damaging review. My friend was very angry because of this false statement review. Could you please help outline a letter or  what my friend should write in a scientific manner to dispute the customer's judgment?

Thank you,
I am adding another picture of the spoons

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Hi Greengreen, send me a personal message and we can talk more.
Cheers for now,