About Our Name

While most people would recognize the shell from appearance, many of them do not know its name.

Cowry (also spelled cowrie) is a species of small to large sea snails found throughout the tropical and subtropical oceans. There are more than 200 species of cowries found throughout the world. Cowry often refers to the shell of these sea snails, which is naturally polished like ceramic or glass. While cowries can be found washed up on shore, it is rare. Many of these shells are brought up from the ocean floor and ledges by scuba divers. The shell’s history can be tied to many different cultures from Africa to Asia, to the South Pacific and beyond. Throughout the world these shells have also been used as currency or for barter. The Ghanaian currency known as the Cedi has a representation of the Cowry on it. In the Ewe language of Ghana the local name for cowry is “Hotsi”, which translates to wealth and prosperity!! This was the basis for naming our first company Cowry Enterprises Ltd. back in March of 1987.

Many people find the porcelain like smooth shell, very pleasing to look at and hold. The cowry is one of the most recognizable seashells, and is avidly collected. They are commonly used in shell lei’s, necklace’s, and decorations. Many of the more common cowries such as the Tiger, Map, Money, and Deer, can be found at any shell shop our beach souvenir store and go for a couple of dollars. The more rare, unusual, and less common shells such as the Golden Cowry, can fetch prices well over $300 dollars, and are hard to come by for collectors. The cowry family of shells when viewed together, are spectacular and show mother nature’s artistic sense.