"The Gastropazi people are a unique tribe compared to others that have existed in the Southwest. Their customs, their social structure and their architecture are clearly shared by its brethren, but their currency is remarkable. The tribe adopted a form of shell currency, collecting the husks of three key species of snails, of all things."
From top to bottom:
"The Sanders Valley Snail, named after both the habitat and the man who discovered it and the Gastropazi, Herbert N. Sanders. The distinct pattern on the back of its shell fools would-be prey into avoiding its frightening face."
"The Spiral Snail, commonly seen on the cliffs of the Mesa Pomatia. Their diet consists of the green leaves from what plant life clings to the side of the rock."
"The Boulder Snail, an animal that hides itself amongst the dusty rocks near clay beds. It is revered by the Gastropazi, for they believe that the world was created on the back of one their shells."
"Typically the shells of the more common Sanders Valley snails are grouped in fours, evidently a lucky number in the culture, and are divided by spires carved off from the Spiral Snail. The shells are strung together with a weighty Boulder snail shell as a symbolic reminder of their ties to the earth. From recent studies, it appears it was common for the matriarch to wear the necklace around her neck, to keep safe the family fortune while the patriarch was off hunting."
All done for a final semester design class project. It was quite fun to design all of this.