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Sailors' Valentines

A magnificent shell art form developed in the early 19th century by women of Barbados and other Caribbean areas for sailors to take home to their loved ones.

Sailors' valentines are a shell art form developed in the early nineteenth century. Octagonal boxes served as frames for symmetrical and well-balanced compositions that artists created, in pointillist-like fashion, using small shells of different colors and shapes.

Contrary to myth, sailors' valentines were not made by sailors in order to pass time at sea. They were usually assembled by female residents of Barbados and other Caribbean ports of call for New England whalers to purchase and bring back to their loved ones waiting at home. The craftswomen would often include romantic phrases such as "Forget-me-not" and "Remember me". Recently this art form has undergone a revival amongst shell crafters.

Home Again Valentine It Had To Be You Valentine Porreca Valentine With All My Love Valentine Sailors' Valentine


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