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how to bring back the shine to a conch shell
03-05-2007, 06:33 PM,
how to bring back the shine to a conch shell
i really need help. we brought back a beautiful conch back from the B.V.I'S with the "meat" out of it. it still had a smell and we were told to soak it in fresh water for 30 days. we did, but now the shine is completely gone from the shell. we tried putting paraine oil on it, but the shine only stays until the oil dries. have we ruined out shell for good??? is there a way of bringing back the shine? HELP PLEASE.
shineless in british columbia

03-05-2007, 07:15 PM,
how to bring back the shine to a conch shell
Hi Carolyn,

I'm afraid the news isn't good. During the long soak in fresh water, the remaining material inside the shell which was the cause of the odor decomposed. I suppose that was the objective; however, decomposition released acids into the water. Shells, being made of calcium carbonate, are very susceptible to acid damage, and the acids of decomposition have etched the formerly glossy surface of the shell, dulling it. It's as though you took a sheet of glass and sandpapered it. There is really no way to restore the original gloss, because it is simply destroyed. Microscopically the surface of the shell looks much different now than it did originally. Oiling such a shell with something like paraffin oil, mineral oil or baby oil can improve the appearance somewhat, but cannot restore it completely. Some people like WD-40 for this purpose. You can also try buffing it with a buffing wheel and a very fine polishing compound (a small buffing wheel mounted in an electric drill is best), or coating the shell with some sort of aerosol clear plastic spray (if you try this, make sure you remove all oil first with warm soapy water, and dry thoroughly). But the bottom line is, none of these methods will bring back the original bright gloss and color.

For future reference (too little, too late), what you should have done is soak the shell, apex downward, in a chlorine bleach solution for 24 hours, then flush with water.  The smell would be gone, and the color and gloss would be unaffected.
04-03-2007, 02:29 PM,
how to bring back the shine to a conch shell
As stated the shine loss is permenant. You can just use a clear glossy spray enamel. I pick mine up at Home Depot for under $4. Like stated before make sure you remove all oils first. I would wash it down with soap and water first and make sure that it is completely dry. This will ruin the specimen status but at least it will maintain it's shine. The soaking to remove the animal was right and it can take that long but you have to change the water almost every day so that you don't ruin your shine.

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