Show and shell under way at Pompano Beach event

by Rachel Hatzipanagos

Some conchologists, like most casual beachgoers, collect shells just for the fun of it. For others, such as seashell dealers, it's a full-time job. They sell shells to collectors and craftsman who make jewelry and other arts and crafts.

Shannon Webster, of Flagler Beach, makes Sailor's Valentines — small wooden frames that on the inside display mosaics made out of sea shells. The intricate designs, which sell for between $600 and $1,200, take about a month to make and require hundreds of small shells, some found in unusual places, such as the mussel shells at the center of one piece.

"I had mussels in a restaurant and I noticed the shells were so beautiful that I asked the waiter if I could take them with me," Webster said.

Amateurs and pros had their findings judged at the Pompano Beach Civic Center, where shell dealers and enthusiasts judge each other's work based on display for the shell and correct identification of the shells they've found.

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