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What is Capiz?

By J. Beam
Updated May 16, 2024
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Capiz is both a geographical location and the name of a shell that is used largely in interior decorating and for decorative gifts and accessories. Geographically speaking, Capiz is a province of the Philippines facing the Sibuyan Sea to the north. The shell, which is used for decorative purposes, is the outer shell of the marine mollusk, Placuna placenta, found in the shallow coastal waters of the Philippines.

The shell by this name is a flat, semi-transparent shell with a pearlescent appearance. Capiz is often used to create lampshades or other luminescent objects, such as candle holders, because of its striking appearance when light shines through. However, it is just as common to see the bases of lamps crafted with the shell. It is also frequently used as an accent to many household and fashion accessories. The look is generally considered to be elegant and formal.

As a decorative item for interiors, capiz is often found not only on light fixtures and furniture, but also on walls. Many upscale hotels feature these panels on the interior walls of their lobbies and hallways. You might also find capiz in the showers and bathrooms of such hotels. They might be used in homes, but it are generally reserved for formal areas only, though a more casual look can also be achieved with them.

Capiz is also used in jewelry, especially necklaces and bracelets, where it can stand alone or accentuate mother of pearl. It can be found as accent trim on leather handbags, watches, and even shoes. It is not uncommon to find giftware made with capiz as well. Dishes are another item that might incorporate it to create an elegant, one-of-a-kind look.

Essentially, the use of capiz shell in decorating and fashion is unlimited. It can be difficult to tell the difference between genuine shell and a synthetic, but generally, synthetic versions are cheaper. Capiz shell products can add a look of elegance or formality to a room or object, but they can also be used to create a breezy, coastal feel. Their decorative purposes are virtually limitless, and the look the shell gives depends largely on the quantity used and the accompanying materials, with silver or gold being the most formal and wood being a more casual material.

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Discussion Comments

By anon974907 — On Oct 22, 2014

Where can we find Capiz shells here in the Philippines (mostly)?

By anon964470 — On Aug 05, 2014

I bought an expensive chandelier that I thought was made out of glass. However, when I submitted the chandelier to a lighting store the employee told me it was made out of Capiz shells and not out of glass. This is embarrassing to me because I have been a vegetarian for many years. The chandelier is still in the shop and I don't know now what to do with it.

By anon343827 — On Aug 03, 2013

Is this already exported to USA?

By anon330611 — On Apr 17, 2013

Is the shell more yellow or is it translucent?

By anon146923 — On Jan 27, 2011

capiz is the new soylent green of the 21st Century. Eating it greatly reduces the risk of being attacked by a mollusk or a sand shark along the great barrier reef.

By anon144778 — On Jan 20, 2011

They certainly are beautiful, but unfortunately the harvesting of these shells cause a great deal of environmental damage. For this reason, I would not buy them.

By starkk8867 — On Jan 17, 2011

Besides Philippines have found and produced Capiz shells. Is there any South East Asia country where this Capiz Shell is also found? Is malaysia one of the SEA country have this shell? A million thanks.

By anon141627 — On Jan 11, 2011

How to make capiz shell of shell plate (mother of pearl) in soft? What chemical is used.

By anon108883 — On Sep 04, 2010

Does getting capiz require killing of the mollusk?

By anon97522 — On Jul 20, 2010

what chemical is used to soften capiz shells to make a form? Thanks

By anon91495 — On Jun 22, 2010

how can we make tiles out from capiz shells? i need the procedure please. it's for my research project.

By anon73176 — On Mar 25, 2010

I read the best way to clean mother of pearl is to dampen a soft cloth in light olive oil and wipe luster clean. Also stated to not clean with water or any harsh cleaners.

By anon72170 — On Mar 22, 2010

I guess you can export Capiz shells from India.

By jainempx — On Apr 03, 2009

Is the use of Capiz shell banned for exports from India?

By anon29227 — On Mar 29, 2009

Not sure how much it needs to be cleaned but a cleaner like goof off will remove stains or random things (like permanent marker that was on mine) safely. I wouldn't recommend it for the entire thing though.

By anon7365 — On Jan 24, 2008

I do not have the answer to your question, but I love decorative accents and MUST see this chandelier! Where can I find it or was it custom made?

Thank you!

By anon2141 — On Jun 29, 2007

what is the best way to clean a 6' capiz chandelier?

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