When traveling in Central America or the Caribbean, you may find hair accessories, bracelets and trinkets made from tortoise shell. Often, tortoise shell accessories are made from synthetic materials and not from the endangered Hawksbill sea turtle. But with synthetics looking as good as the real thing, how can you tell the difference? First, hold the item up to the light: Is it transparent in the light areas? Is it highly flexible? If so, it’s likely real tortoise shell. Look for alternatives made from coconut shell and horn for the same look and feel.
ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION