New design ideas for interior walls currently incorporate unusual materials for wallpaper and wall coverings that exude style and strength without causing damage to the environment. Natural capiz shells used as wallpaper and wall covering material is fast becoming the best choice for architects and interior designers who are now choosing environment friendly materials for their building and decorating projects that do not compromise style and stability of their design.
Capiz shells are one of the preferred sources of shell ornaments. Shell ornaments were used as early as 3000 B.C., the first known use was in the ancient Egyptian civilization as jewelry pieces like this bracelet exhibited at the British Museum which is made of mother-of-pearl strips worn exclusively by people belonging to the Pan-Grave period.
Capiz shells had been used extensively in home interiors in the past for its elegance and sturdiness. The long-lasting quality of the shells can be seen until today on structures and items made of capiz shells that endured time and are still functional. Windows, lamps, chandeliers, frames, candleholders and recently as wallpapers or wall coverings are only some of the varied uses of capiz.
Capiz shells are also known as windowpane oysters (Placuna placenta). These bivalve mollusks have shells that are very thin and translucent like paper but very durable since it cannot be easily damaged insects, rodents as well as molds unlike common wallpapers and wall surfaces. These features of capiz shells make it easy to process into pliable sheets and sturdy tiles suitable for indoor use for walls.
In its natural state, capiz shells are off-white or beige in color on the outside and pearly white on the inside. Colored capiz shells are achieved by processing either by using dyes or by bleaching the shells. It is natural for capiz shells to flake off and undergo changes in color as they age, however, recent product developments found innovations that would lessen discoloration and reduce flaking of the shells.
These technological advancements in the capiz shell industry paved way for capiz shell wallpapers or wall coverings and wall finishing progressing into a wide range of products from highly flexible sheets to carved three-dimensional (3D) wall tiles. The endless potentials of capiz shells make it one of the best innovative materials from nature that can be used as a better and eco-friendly source of interior wall coverings without sacrificing sophistication.
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Reviving Kapis Fishery along Panay Gulf by Aquaculture Department, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center
The History of Pearls from Pearl-Guide.com
Ancient Egypt: a social history by Bruce G. Trigger
Encyclopedia of the archaeology of ancient Egypt By Kathryn A. Bard
Mother-of-pearl bracelet image from British Museum online collection