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About Kauai Sunrise Shells

Kauai Sunrise Shells aka "Langford Pectens" speak directly to the heart of those who know and understand the beauty and spirit of Hawaii.

Hawaiian Sunrise Shells are found in remote locations in deep waters off the coast of the garden island of Kauai. While they are found in all of the Hawaiian islands including Maui and Oahu, the Sunrise Shells found on Kauai are thought to be of the best quality and greatest variety of color. The exact dive locations vary during the year and are closely held secrets. Depending on weather and ocean conditions, the shells may or may not be present. On a good day a diver might find up to a coffee cup full of shells, most of which will be covered in sediment and often calcified residue.
Kauai sunrise shells fresh from the ocean Kauai sunrise shells fresh from the ocean Kauai sunrise shells fresh from the ocean

The Cleaning Process

The shells are cleaned individually by hand in a tedious multi step process.
  1. They are first soaked in a “secret sauce” cleaning solution and rinsed thoroughly in clean water.
  2. The shell is then scrubbed by hand with a stiff wire brush to remove calcification/sediment build-up existing in the grooves/channels of each shell.
    Kauai sunrise shells soaking in cleaning solution Kauai sunrise shells after soaking in cleaning solution Kauai sunrise shells scrubbed with a wire brush

  3. The shell is then gone over with a fine “dental pic” and each groove, nook and cranny that continues to hide dirt, calcium or other residue is carefully pic’d over.
  4. When the shell is as clean as is humanly possible, the shell is rinsed and dried thoroughly with a hair dryer.
  5. A small amount of all-natural mineral oil is then applied and scrubbed deep into the pores of both sides of the shell.
  6. And “voila” – A gorgeous Hawaiian Sunrise Shell has emerged!
Kauai sunrise shells cleaned with a dental pic Kauai sunrise shells oiled Cleaned Kauai sunrise shells

Shell Quality

Kauai sunrise shells cleaned with a dental pic The two sides of a natural pair are never identical and often are completely different in color. Above is a natural pair composed of one side that is a rare red and white striped "bumpy side" and its opposite half is a classic colored yellow "smooth side". Tiger stripes on both halves are clearly visible and wings are intact and symmetrical.

The quality and value of each Hawaiian Sunrise Shell is determined by various factors: