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93/404/1 Necklace (mairreener), kelp shell / cotton, Lola Greeno, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, 1993. Click to enlarge.

Lola Greeno’s shell necklace

Made by Greeno, Lola in Launceston, Tasmania, 1993.

This highly lustrous shell necklace is important and rare. It was made by Tasmanian Indigenous artist, Lola Greeno, who in 2014 was named the 8th ‘Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft’ by the Australian Design Centre. Greeno works with the greatest respect for her Indigenous ancestors and traditions, always including members of her family in the process, passing knowledge on to the next generation. Greeno is a master of the craft and artistically interprets a wide range of shells from F...


Object No.


Object Statement

Necklace (mairreener), kelp shell / cotton, Lola Greeno, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, 1993

Physical Description

Necklace (mairrener), kelp shell/cotton, Lola Greeno, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, 1993

Circlet of 650 highly lustrous kelp shells of various opalescent colourings including yellow, purple and green. They are threaded onto linen or cotton thread.



965 mm



This necklace was designed and made by Lola Greeno in Launceston, Tasmania in 1993.
The shells are collected from beaches at Flinders Island at low tide, when they are more accessible.They are attached to the ribbon and bubble kelp. It is a family affair with often 3 generations collecting shells together. The shells are frozen then taken home to Lola's home in Launceston. There the shells are placed in a bucket with some water and left for the flies and ants to clean them. After several months the shells are then placed in a weak acid to remove the calcification and reveal brilliant blue and green opalescent colouring. The shells are pierced in the 'bowl' of the shell with a fine metal awl on a wooden base. This gives them the characteristic and very attractive 45' angle when threaded. Depending upon the size of the shells, one or two thicknesses of beading thread now replace the traditional kangaroo sinew thread used in the past.
(17/6/2014 interview with Lola Greeno by Lindie Ward)



The making of shell necklaces dates back long before the European settlement of Tasmania. Both men and women wore them around their necks, heads and arms. They were often seen on important individuals and leaders. Larger shells were more available in the past and now the opalescent shells are becoming increasingly hard to find, with over harvesting and pollution. This particular necklace is very special as these shells are very hard to find in 2014. Tasmanian shell necklaces have become a powerful symbol of Indigenous culture that has survived very harsh episodes.


Credit Line

Purchased 1993

Acquisition Date

25 November 1993

Cite this Object


Lola Greeno's shell necklace 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 21 March 2019, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Lola Greeno's shell necklace |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=21 March 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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