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Jewels of Maraqua

by tyleraapje


MARAQUA - With the rebuilding of the underwater city, a re-discovery and appreciation of the treasures it holds has blossomed. It is this growing interest that has many Neopians eagerly collecting Maraquan related items, including the wondrous jewels of the sea, otherwise known as the sea shells of Maraqua.

Coming in all shapes, sizes and colour, it is easy to understand why collecting sea shells is quickly becoming a favourite hobby, and in some cases obsession, for a good number of Neopians. This article will provide information on how to correctly identify your sea shells and a step by step care guide for collectors that want to keep their new found treasures in tip top condition. Speculation on shells that might be discovered in the future will also be covered.

Sea Shell Identification

Sea shells can be broken down into two categories, Gastropod and Bivalve. Those sea shells that are not hinged or joined together, but are instead of a single piece, fall into the category of Gastropod. Sea shells consisting of two pieces that are hinged or attached in some manner are called Bivalve sea shells and if not handled properly can break into separate halves. Several specimens of both types have already been discovered in Maraqua, refer to the listing below:

Gastropods Shells

Tangerine Trumpet Shell - This unusually coloured shell is quite rare, you know.

Rainbow Coloured Shell - This beautiful shell will add a splash of colour to your collection.

Pink Curly Shell - Extremely delicate to handle. There are very few whole Pink Curly Shells around.

Crimson Spotted Shell - So called for the deep crimson inside the shell and the silver spots on the outside.

Green Smooth Shell - This shell is so smooth it feels silky to the touch.

Blue Spiral Sea Shell - Quite a rare shell, mainly found around the Ruins of Maraqua.

Bivalve Shells

Green Clam Shell - If you can prise it open, you may find a glistening pearl inside!

Purple Scallop Shell - These shells are quite common; in fact, you can find lots of them just lying around the Maraquan sea bed.

Glossy Blue Shell - This shell is so shiny your Neopet can almost see their reflection in it.

Matching Pastel Shells - Finding two shells with the same pattern is extremely rare.

Cleaning and Preserving Your Sea Shells

While vacationing on Mystery Island or during a recreational diving expedition to the underwater city of Maraqua itself, many Neopians pick up a sea shell or two. Finds like these can make a nice inexpensive memento of their experience. If not cleaned properly, however, sea shells can have devastating effects, from glares of other travellers wondering why you have not showered, to Neolodge employees searching through your bags for the unknown odor emitting from them that has other patrons running for Terror Mountain. On the other hand, properly cleaned sea shells will show no such effects and can actually look considerably nicer without all the gunk like algae and barnacles covering them up. The natural colour of sea shells is often quite different from what you might expect to find on the beach. A good, thorough cleaning is all that is required to bring this natural beauty out and destroy any offending odors the sea shells might have.

As always with any procedure of this manner, have parental supervision and make sure that you wear the proper protective clothing and eyewear to ensure your safety.

Step One - Soaking

Sea Shells should be soaked in a 50/50 solution of bleach and water. This will remove the outer coating of algae and other build-up. The duration to let them soak will vary, depending on the type and quantity of sea shells you are cleaning. Just be certain to remove them once the unwanted materials have come off.

Step Two - Barnacle Removal

If after the soaking process there are still some barnacles and/or other matter attached to the sea shells, you can use an instrument such as a dental pick to remove the material. Other useful tools for this procedure are a water pick, toothbrush and a cooking grill brush.

Step Three - Damaged Edges

While most collectors strive to keep only those shells in pristine condition, those of a less picky nature are just as happy with sea shells that may have sustained minor damages. If the edges or lips of your sea shells are jagged or chipped, you can use a file or grinder to smooth the roughness.

Step Four - Shining

To give your sea shells a sparkling luster, you can treat them to a wiping of baby or mineral oil.

Storage and Display

Once you have clean your collected sea shells, you will want to carefully store them to ensure they remain protected from damage and dust for years to come. Depending on how much time you are willing to invest in storing and displaying your collection, there are a couple of options for you to consider.

Collector's Album

Like stamps, coins and other collectibles, sea shells can be safely stored in an album. One must be certain of their desire to display their shells in this manner though, as once they have been set into their slots they cannot be removed. Many Neopians find this the most handy method of keeping track of those sea shells they have yet to collect, since each album is fitted with a specific number of slots and nicely organized.

Collector's Gallery

This is considered by some as the most rewarding method of displaying your collection, and with a bit of imagination can possibly earn you a fanciful trophy. Since galleries can come in all themes, sea shells are suitable for a number of various displays. From a collection of anything Maraqua to a display of anything about shells including decorative furniture and books on the topic to a more pure offering of the actual shells themselves and nothing else, the look and feel of a sea shell collection can be designed and adapted to just about any Neopian's tastes and interests.

Looking to the Future

With a good portion of the Neopian waters still left to be explored, one can only wonder what new and exciting discoveries lay ahead. With a little research and reliable reference materials such as the Shell Hunters Guide Book, I've comprised the following short list of possibilities:

Wentletrap Shell - Commonly found at high tide along the shoreline, these small but beautiful specimens are most often very white, nearly translucent, with very defined chambers and an exterior "spine".

Uni Auger Shell - Also known as the Flooreyeduh Auger, this long and twisty shell curiously resembles the horn of a Uni and is thought to bring good luck to its finder.

Kougra's Paw Shell - Sometimes referred to as Kitten's Paw, this shell is abundant along sandy beaches. It is usually white or gray with red/rust-colored shading and striping along the knobby ridges.

Lightning Whelk Shell - Not very common, as it is one of the few left-handed (left-facing) sea shells, this shell has no electrical properties whatsoever.

Lace Murex Shell - Found ranging in colour from black to brown to orange to white, this delicate looking shell is a most prized addition to any collection.

Worm Sea Shell - This odd looking shell comes in various light tan/rust shades as well as white. Coiled in various densities these shells are hollow and have often been mistaken for tiny seasnake creatures.

Beaded Periwinkle Shell - The surface of this shell is literally covered in multiple rows of small rounded white beads.

Negg Cockle Shell - Found along beaches and on sandy bottoms, these oval shaped shells are aptly named for their resemblance to the common Negg. Usually having a glossy surface they can appear to twinkle with an inner light.

    Hopefully this article has proven helpful to hardcore and beginner sea shell collectors alike. Who knows... perhaps in addition to these wonderful shells, we'll find other curious things like Sand Neopoints or Sea Urchins. So join me and others with an adventurous spirit in the hunt for those beautiful shells!

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