Natural capiz shell is an eco-friendly, abundant, and sustainable resource found in the Pacific Ocean near the equator. Capiz shell is abundant throughout the Philippine Islands.
Throughout the Philippines, a country of over 7,000 tropical islands, many families struggle financially due to isolation with limited resources and job opportunities. For centuries, local families have depended upon their surrounding natural resources to overcome the challenges of island living.
Eco-Friendly, Sustainable, Natural Resource
Native marine mollusks have been a dependable and rapidly renewable source of vital nutrition and income for many island families for generations. The mollusk’s shell lining, known as capiz, has also been a foundational part of Filipino art and culture.
What makes these capiz ornaments special?
These capiz designs are created by local fair-trade workshops in the Philippines that provide safe jobs with fair wages for women. Every purchase provides income to a woman in an area of extreme poverty.
How does natural capiz shell become wearable art & home décor?
These elegant handcrafted capiz shell ornaments begin at the bottom of the sea surrounding the Philippine Islands. Named for its abundance in the province of Capiz, the capiz shell is the lining of a marine mollusk.
Before glass was available in the Philippines, this shell was used to create windows because of its translucent qualities, earning the mollusk its nickname, “windowpane oyster.”
Local divers collect these native mollusks during the summertime when the surrounding coastal waters are clear.
On shore, local women shuck the mollusks for food, before cleaning, drying, sizing, counting, and selling the capiz shell lining to local Artisans.
The sale of capiz is often the only source of income for many island families.
Picking each mollusk by hand, they gather them into bamboo baskets before loading them into small fishing boats.
Artisans Transform Capiz into Jewelry, Art, & Home Décor
They begin by cutting every capiz shell by hand – making each individual ornament special and unique to the Artisan who made it. The capiz shells are baked, soaked in peroxide to enhance the natural pearlized color, and then dried before a protective finish is applied.
From start to finish, these handcrafted natural capiz designs are a labor of love that create opportunities for families in the Philippines to thrive!
Our Artisan partners’ beautiful capiz holiday ornaments are currently out of season and unavailable at this time. But you can still support them by shopping their other capiz designs from the Philippines.
Check out all of these amazing designs made by this Artisan community in the Philippines!
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Click on each photo below to discover more about our Artisan partners and products in THE PHILIPPINES.