A group of sand-dwelling molluscs, that is very popular with shell enthusiasts. Almost all species have smooth, highly glossy shells, that enable the animal to glide into the sand. The genus Oliva is actually shaped like an olive. The shapes are pretty uniform, what varies most is the color schemes and pattern. Allthough most species are easy to obtain, there are a few rare exceptions. Pictured here are some of my favorites.

Agaronia gibbosa Born, I. von, 1778

39.6mm. Kottai Pattinam, India.

F++. A very common indian trawled species. Sometimes full-yellow, "golden" specimens show up with the regular brown and grey ones. These are not rare, but definetely stand out in a group. this particular specimen is of discreet size, for a species that can easily reach 2.5" but the color is really vibrant and outstanding. For the aesthetic collector. 

Price: 12.00 usd.

Oliva m. tremulina f. flammeacolor

Petuch, E.J. & D.M. Sargent, 1986

75.1mm. Tuticorin, India.

F+. A nice, big subspecies of Oliva miniacea. These are much more rounded, and can get quite heavy. The dorsum is beige and orange, covered by an attractive, dark greenish brown reticle. This particular specimen is of good size and strong color, it has a rust stain in the underside.

Price: 25.00 usd.

Oliva b. buelowi Sowerby III, 1890

21.7mm. Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.

F++. An uncommon and very scarcely offered species. Not to be confused with the much more available and notorious Oliva buelowi phuketensis. The subspecies buelowi buelowi is more discreetly colored: banana yellow background with sienna dashes only halfway through the whorl. Here is a very nice specimen; of very good size, and pretty color.

Price: 25.00 usd.

Oliva multiplicata Reeve, L.A., 1850

45.45mm. Taiwan Strait.

F+. A trawled species that lives in rather deep water. The shell has a very particular shape: long and narrow with somewhat straight edges and conical spire, it has very densely set, small plicae along the aperture. Solid color forms are very uncommon. Here is a magnificent vermillion giant, alas a hole in the spire and slight dullness keep it from a higher grade.


Oliva miniacea miniacea f. marrati

Johnson, C.W., 1910

87.9mm. Bantayan Is. Philippines. 

F++. This is an uncommon and elegant, full-brown form of miniacea. This form has the typical melon-orange aperture, but is contrasted with a dark surface, like thick etching ink. The contrast is spectacular. Here is a large, nearly perfect example. It makes a striking display in any cabinet.


Oliva ponderosa Duclos, 1840

49.6mm. Male, Maldives.

F+/++. An uncommon, seldom available Central Indian Ocean species. With most shells coming from the remote Maldives and Laccadives, these are scarcely offered. Characterized by a large, bulbous, heavy shell; this has an attractive cream background with faint lilac-brown dashes. Here is a very attractive example, that came straight from a Male dealer. 

Price: 35.00 usd.