Our shells come primarily from the private collections of individuals who live on the great shelling beaches of the East Coast from New Jersey to Virginia to Florida. These recreational beachcombers enthusiastically embrace the shell collecting laws of their beloved coastlines. Local laws at these beaches state that it is illegal to harvest or possess any shells that contain living organisms except for oysters, hard clams, sunray venus, clams and coquinas.
While the local regulations can not be easily enforced, the shell collectors with whom we choose to work have a proven track record of protecting the populations and species on their shores.
If a living creature in its shell has come in with the tide and is stranded on the beach the custom is to always gently pick it up and carry (never throw) it back to sea. These animals will not survive in the baking sun on the beach but will most often continue to thrive when returned to the sea.
Occasionally we are fortunate to come across a rare vintage shell that has been in someone's possession for many years. It is difficult in these cases to know the origin of the shell but we always strive to honor its beauty and history in our SeaGarden creations.
We at SeaGardens will never purchase shells from a shell shop, souvenir shop or the commercial seashell trade as we are aware that their practices are often not sustainable or protective of the species.