We’re Into: Tortoise Shell

We love the tortoise shell trend

Tortoise shell is back on everyone’s fashion radar. We’re seeing the gold-and-brown mottled pattern just about everywhere, from the perfect pair of Jackie O sunglasses to wallpaper. But if you ask us, tortoise shell never really went out of style. Just like leopard, it’s a tried-and-true classic.

Originally obtained from the curved shields of the hawksbill turtle, the ornamental material has long been valued for its unique appearance and durability. Tortoise shell was widely used in ancient times in the West and in Asia. And during 17th-century France under Louis XIV, it became highly prized as inlay in small luxury objects, such as snuff boxes, jewelry and combs. Today, the use of real tortoise shell is illegal, but lucky for us, the look is easily replicated.

Because tortoise shell is so timeless, you simply can’t go wrong with putting it in your home. Here are some of our favorite looks this season.

Bunny Williams' Tortoise Hurricanes

We think of tortoise shell as a neutral, so it goes with everything and works anywhere. Bunny’s Tortoise Hurricane is eye-catching on a table or a buffet. Here, the pair looks beautiful on a coral tablecloth and mixed in with blue-and-white dishes.

Bunny Williams' Tortoise Hurricanes

There’s certainly a sophisticated quality about tortoise shell, and these Tortoise Vases by Bunny Williams automatically elevate any arrangement. The darker color and pattern also hides stems and floral foam for a seamless look. They’re made of mouth-blown glass, so each one will have the delightful variations that make artisan-crafted glass unique.

Tortoise shell votive candle holders

We like to use tortoise shell as we would our favorite animal print: in small doses. These Tortoise Votives are the perfect accents. When you’ve got company coming, just pop them on a table, kitchen island or mantel to give a golden glow to your affair.

Bunny Williams' Melange flatware

The simple handle shape of our Bunny Williams Flatware was inspired by an antique set of bone knives Bunny has owned for years. These easily dress up or down to fit the occasion and works in with your existing dinnerware.

Tortoise shell lamp

On a lamp, the natural patina of tortoise shell is even more enhanced, creating instant warmth. The gold-flecked pattern is a real chameleon — it easily fits in modern and traditional interiors — so don’t be afraid to mix it in with the accents you already have.

So do yourself a favor and buy one thing with tortoise shell. We promise you’ll love it forever.

For more design inspiration, visit our Pinterest Boards, or find more gorgeous rooms in our Photo Gallery

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.