Nautiluses are mollusks which are often called living fossils because they haven't evolved in 500 million years. They live only in the Indo-Pacific oceans, deep down the slopes of coral reefs. They are scavengers eating anything they find including molts from lobsters, crabs and carrion.

Nautilus hemiphere (Image source)
These marine creatures are able to live at great depths (up to 800 meters or 2,600 feet below) because of their protective shells.  The picture above shows a nautilus shell cut in half. Inside there are buoyancy related chambers called camerae arranged in a logarithmic spiral (a pattern widely seen in nature such as hurricanes and galaxies).

Nautilus pompilius recorded feeding during daytime at 703 m on red bass bait (Picture source)
Their beautiful shells are highly sought after by shell collectors, as ornaments and for jewelry. There is now increasing concern for these creatures due to alarming over fishing.  Peter D. Ward, a biologist from the University of Washington,said in this NY Times article, "A horrendous slaughter is going on out here. They are nearly wiped out."  What compounds the problem is the slow growth rate - nautiluses take up to 15 years to reach sexual maturity and thus be reproductive. They are currently not protected.

Luckily for us, we can still appreciate nautiluses in jewelry in other ways.  Rachel Murgatroyd created a beautiful wire wrapped nautilus inspired ring design and shared the instructions on this video.

The focal is a gemstone in a Bezellite setting available from suppliers such as Fire Mountain Gems.  This type of easy gemstone setting requires bending the prongs into place with pliers.  You could also try using the snap set variety (see link below).

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