Some of us might recall that day in school when the teacher dumped a bag of cowrie shells on their desk, and decreed, “See this? This used to be money!” Seashells were used as money across the world well into the 20th century, from West Africa to California. And in some parts of the world, shells are still considered legal currency and can be exchanged for real money. Here at Messy Nessy Chic, we’ve become newly fascinated with the idea of footing the dinner bill with a puka shell necklace. The use of shells as a form of currency is one of the most stunning chapters of human invention, so we thought we’d learn a little more about shell money.