By EDDIE OSIFELO
STEVENs and Sons company is opening a shell money shop called ‘Shaenkola’ at Chinatown, Central Honiara as part of preserving the culture and value of the shells.
This follows shell money being an open market, in which the commodity is being sold in the Central market for public to purchase for bride price and compensation and other cultural ceremonies.
Owner, Steven Sifoburi of Langalanga lagoon in Malaita province said in the past the old people kept the shell money in secret houses.
Sifoburi said today shell money is sold openly in the market, therefore he is opening his shop to give a home for it.
He said as the country is also preparing for the Pacific Games in 2023, it is good to store it in the shop to show to visitors the significance and cultural practice behind the shell money trade.
Island Sun visited his shop on Monday this week and saw necklaces and tafuli’ae of North Malaita, string shell money of Are Are and Talinga of Guadalcanal on sale on the shelves.
Sifoburi said today people of Langalanga bought the shells from other provinces because of over harvesting in the lagoon.
He said making shell money is a long process.
This includes women breaking the shells, drilling them, treading, and men grinding, and women colouring and re-treading before it is a finished product.
Sifoburi said people who use shell money in Solomon Islands used to pay brides for marriage and the couple bear children after that.
He said without the shell money, there would be no children to go through formal education system to get qualifications to help their family.
As such, he said it is important to preserve shell money and promote the culture in years to come.