The Wonder of Capiz Shells
Have you ever wondered what seashells can be turned into? There are lots of beautiful items that are made of seashells. In the Philippines alone, where skilled handicraft workers are abundant, you can find a lot of finished products that are made of seashells.
Capiz Shell Products
Capiz, also known as windowpane oyster, is a bivalve marine mollusk that has a translucent outer shell. It is also called mother of pearl because of its nature of producing pearls. It is one of the biggest sources of livelihood in the Philippines. Skilled workers turn capiz shells into beautiful pairs of earrings, bracelets, lampshades, chandeliers, and many more. Possibilities are endless when it comes to creating works of art and novelty items. Many of these products are exported to different countries. They are also available in department stores locally. Some hotels and restaurants use capiz products as part of their interior decorations. Later on in this article, you will be amazed to see photos of finished products made from these capiz shells.
Philippines is the primary exporter of capiz products. Capiz windows are very common in this country and most Asian countries. Capiz panes are cheaper alternatives to glasses. Although now a days, modern houses are built with glass windows, capiz windows still exist in some Filipino houses, especially outside the city areas. Colored capiz materials are also cheaper alternatives to stained glasses.
The advantage of having capiz windows is its translucent quality that allows light to pass through. In the Philippines, summer takes place half of the year. During this time when it gets really hot, capiz windows help block the burning rays of the sun coming inside the house, but allows the bright sunlight to come in.
Artistry and talent make it possible to make a candle holder like the one shown in the picture above. Just cutting the shape of the capiz shell is a tedious job. Putting together all the cut pieces is a work of art. The finished product looks like a lotus flower, although other shapes can be formed. They can be made in different sizes depending on what appeals to the person using them. The color adds to the beauty, especially when the candle is lit at night. Capiz candle holders are good gift suggestions and are available in different colors and designs. Outside the Philippines, they can be found in Asian stores. Here in the United States, World Market is the best possible place to find it.
Unique and different from the usual lamps we find in the stores, capiz chandelier is something that Philippines can be very proud of. Most leading department stores in the Philippines carry these products which can be found in the Filipiniana section. I saw this particular chandelier in the Philippines last time I came home. I went to Balikbayan Handicrafts in Makati City, and I was so amazed to see their beautiful large collection of capiz products. This store sells native Philippine products that include not only capiz items, but also others like woodcarvings, pottery, woven mats, and many more. Because of the unique and artistic quality of their products, local and foreign visitors alike frequent the store.
Decorating a house, an office, or a hotel room is not easy. Some people hire interior designers to help them do the job. Yet, some others choose to do it themselves. Whichever you prefer to do, it may be helpful to think of a motif. If you appreciate sea life or anything related to it, you may want to hang a wall clock made of capiz that is adorned with miniature sea creatures like the picture shown above. You and your guests will surely love it. Not only would you appreciate the quality of work put into this, but also the beauty and serene feeling that it brings to your own home.
There are other beautiful capiz wall decorations to choose from. Mirrors with capiz frames will surely look good in the bath room. Framed art with capiz flowers as the subject will look nice hanging in the living or family room. Whatever motif you have in mind, there will always be something you can find.
One of the most popular handcrafted art pieces in the Philippines is capiz jewelry. Earrings, pendants, bracelets, bangles, and even hair clips can be made out of capiz shells. Different sizes, shapes, and colors make these things beautiful and adorable. They are small items but there are plenty of reasons why capiz jewelry are popular. It's the unique and meticulous artwork that count.
Ready made jewelry or parts can be found in stores that carry beads and jewelry making materials. I once had a passion in jewelry making and was able to make a number of bracelets and pairs of earrings that I gave away as gifts. It's fun making them.
This is something no one should miss. If you have ever been to the Philippines during the Christmas season, I'm sure you have seen Christmas lanterns that are made of capiz. In Filipino language, they are called Parol. It represents the star of Bethlehem that guided the Magi to where the newborn Christ was. This is a symbol that most Filipino homes have for Christmas. They can also be seen hanging on the streets as part of Christmas decorations.
What's amazing about Parols or Christmas lanterns is the design and the timed sequence of the blinking lights. Depending on the size of the parol, there could be hundreds to thousands of colored light bulbs used that are programmed to flash, blink, run, or dim. As early as September, these parols can be available for sale in department stores.
The province of Pampanga is very popular in parol making. Every year, there is parol competition where hundreds of giant lanterns are exhibited for public viewing. It takes several months and manpower to finish a giant parol, but it is worthwhile because of the amazing finished product.
This is a must-see. Watch this video to see the beautifully designed Christmas lanterns or parols with lights in motion. Have fun watching!