European cowrie shell portugal, spotted cowrie, trivia monacha sea by lou

European Cowrie || Trivia monacha

  • Size: Between 5 and 12 mm 
  • Color: Off-white with 3 brown dots
  • Family: Triviidae
  • Fun fact: Did you know all of these shells have 3 dots? How cute! 


A Coastal Gem

The European Cowrie (Trivia Monacha), also known as the Spotted Cowrie shell is a treasure from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a small sea snail species belonging to the Triviidae family and discovered by da Costa in 1778. In Portugal this European Cowrie shell is often called “beijinhos”, which means little kisses. This is probably because the shell looks like the lips of a mouth. 

European cowrie portugal, spotted cowrie, trivia monacha closeup

The shell of the European Cowrie is smooth, glossy and lemon-shaped. This tiny shell measuring about 5 to 12 mm. The European Cowrie has a stunning combination of creamy, off-white hues and has 3 dark spots and lines on the back. There is a similar species, the Northern Cowrie (Trivia arctica) that looks alike but generally has no dots.


The European Cowrie shell can be found along the coastline of Portugal, from the Algarve region until the beaches of Porto. These snails live on rocky shores or under stones in shallow waters of the neritic zone and the intertidal zone, the low tide mark. The beautiful shells are sometimes found washed up on the beach. In my experience these European Cowrie shells are rare to find and are only on specific beaches. 

Interested to get a piece with this tiny coastal gem?

SEA BY LOU creates art and jewelry with the European Cowrie shell bringing a touch of the coastal elegance of Portugal into your home or to wear a piece of Portugal's natural beauty wherever they go.

Go to the shop here to find your unique piece now!




Back to blog