CASH IN SAND.
WE got talking to one collector on the beach who was supplementing her income by selling what she found to local shell shops. One of her most lucrative shells was the appropriatelynamed sand dollar. This is popular with tourists because of its markings, which are seen by some as religious symbols.
According to legend, she explained, the sand dollar is also called the Holy Ghost Shell and is said to tell the story of the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
SAND dollars we found on the beach with one broken open TOShow the "angels" At the centre of the uppermost side of the disc-shaped shell is a five-pointed star representing the star of Bethlehem, which led the three wise men to Jesus's birthplace, while lines seemingly etched into the top surface around it resemble the Easter lily.
Five oval holes found in every shell represent the wounds Christ suffered on the cross - four smaller ones for the nails to his hands and feet, and the larger fifth, the wound inflicted by the Roman soldier's spear.
The underside of the shell is marked with the outline of the Christmas flower, the Poinsettia, and if broken open, the sand dollar's teeth are found arranged in the shape of a star.
Individually, these small pieces resemble white doves in flight, which some believe represent the angels who sang to the shepherd on Christmas morning.
SAND dollars we found on the beach with one broken open TOShow the "angels"