After collecting, the animals can be removed a number of ways:
Do not, with any of these methods, leave the shells in sunlight as exposure can dull the color and ruin the gloss on polished specimens.
With shells like Murex, Tritons, Turbans etc. be sure to keep the operculum or trap door which is attached to the animals foot as this completes the presentation of the specimen in the collection. The operculum can be glued to cotton wool or tissue paper and pushed into the shells mouth.
When the animals have been removed give the shells a thorough clean in fresh water and leave to dry away from sunlight. You should be able to determine if the shell is empty of contents by smelling. Any surface growths eg. coral or calcium deposits can be removed with a sharp object or knife. A dentists tooth probe is ideal for delicate work. For removal of stubborn material the shell can be placed in a solution of 50% household bleach and water. Keep trying daily to remove the material as this solution softens calcium deposits. A 100% bleach solution will remove most periostractum or skin often found on Cone shells within 20 minutes (do not leave in this solution any longer than an hour). Never use acid to remove material as this may damage delicate surfaces.
When you are satisfied with the cleaning process the shell can be oiled with a clean cloth and baby oil. Do not use any other type of oil as this may damage the shell. Do not lacquer shells as they are best kept in their natural state unless you have a Cowrie or Olive which has been dead collected and the polish has been eroded. With these shells the appearance can be improved considerably until you can obtain a better specimen by coating with clear fingernail polish.
Before placing your specimens on display - add your shells data. Most collectors have printed shell tags to which can be added the following information:
Scientific name: (eg. Conus bengalensis)
Authority: (eg. Okutani,1968) This is the name of the 1st person to describe the species and when he or she did.
Location: (eg.Bay of Bengal, India) Where the species was found.
Data: ( Trawled in 100 metres on sand bottom) Actual collection data for the species.
Your collection procedure for this specimen is now complete. A specimens value is increased if the operculum and shell data is included with the specimen. Details on shell grading is to be found on the Information page of this site.
Please choose and click on a shell family or other site pages.
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