Some of you may ask : how do you combine collecting shells and complying with wildlife preservation rules ? Rest assured, not one cone shell is to be found on the list of endangered species. Harvesting and trade thus aren’t limited, and private collections still face good perspectives.
However, actually seeing these collections remains difficult. Their owners often limit their access to relatives or other collectors : they try to keep their treasures away from prying eyes, for the sake of discretion as well as fear of thieves.
Scientific collections are rarely shown to the public. Museum displays are often scarce and disappointing : the small size of specimens and the mandatory dim lighting required to preserve them discourages most attempts.
Digital photography and the internet have brought new opportunities. Collectors can now take affordable close-up photographs of their treasures, and make them safely accessible online to everyone. Digitalising collections such as this one is a wonderful way to perpetuate them. Websites like « 500 Conidae » should prosper and hopefully, one day, lead to a multitude of cyber museums for the enjoyment of all.