An insight into the Murex [Triton] Shell

A Giant Triton, found in the Far East and South Seas, makes a good trumpet.  [Also called a Conch Shell by many]

Murex Shells are closely related to the Triton Shells.  As per the picture above the large ones make extremely good musical instruments, when blown the noise is similar to that of a trumpet, some might say it sounds like the call of a Seal, as it can give a sort of honking noise particularly until you have managed to grasp the context of blowing it to make an appropriate and acceptable sound.

Ancient Phoenicians and many other Mediterranean people made a purplish dye from a gland in the mantle of the murex.  This colour which was a sort of dull crimson was the ‘royal purple’ and in ancient times it was in much demand for colouring the garments of the kings and nobles.  

There are many species of murex shells which vary in colour and size.  The apple murex is a heavy, rough shell of about 3 inches and is coloured dark brown to yellow and tinged with pink.  It is found in Atlantic waters from North Carolina to Florida.

The lace murex is so beautifully sculptured that it soon became a much sought after item for collectors because of its rounded spiraling cords crossed with rib like markings.  This shell can be found in the stretch of water from North Carolina to South America and measure in the range of 1″ to 2″ long.  The inside of the valve and lips are a pale pink when the molusk is full grown.  In the young the outside of the shell is a pale grayish pink.

A different slant on the Triton Shell is written in Sandra Kynes book Sea Magic where she states:-  These rugged yet decorative shells, related to the murex, are of the Ranellidae  family.  With a hole drilled into the apex they can be used as horns.  Triton’s Trumpet [Charonia tritonis] is the largest and best known because it is used to call people to worship.  It is also called the Pacific Trumpet Triton; there is also an Atlantic Trumpet Triton [C.variegata].   In Greek legend, Poseidon called his son Triton to blow this trumpet and subdue floods.  This scene was depicted on a Roman coin in 400 BCE.

Appearance: Tritons are solid and sculpted with strong rib-like areas. The thick outer lip is often toothed.  These shells have a wide range of colours and patterns.

Associations: Community, Joy, the element Air

Uses: With Tritons we can send out intentions and prayers.

If you are interested in finding out more about the many shells found our Oceans please check out my bibliography and find books and authors I have found of interest during my own search for knowledge in this area.