The Imperial Cone, Conus imperialis Linnaeus 1758, is a most majestic shell. With its classic “ice cream cone” shape and white crown, large size and striking colors it is one of the most popular members of the family. Although it is fairly common and widespread across the Indo-Pacific, high quality specimens are not that easy to find.
Conus imperialis reaches an adult size of about three inches. The base color is creamy white. Typical specimens have two broken golden bands that encircle the shell. Long and short brown and black dashes plus white dots overlay the entire shell. The shell has a low gloss, the spire always suffers from erosion. This specimen has a perfectly straight grown line that runs top to bottom. This is normal with shells that grown in spurts, then rest up before growing again. The lip is smooth and natural. At 3.5″ tall it is large, quite large in today’s market as shells don’t seem to grown like they used to.
The small specimen is half the size of the big one. It’s rare to find one of this size.
Specimens from off the coast of Africa are smaller and tend to have the golden bands replaced by irregular axial blotches. They are ofter tan rather than gold and the base color could be grayish. They were given the name of Conus fuscatus Born 1778.
The vast majority of Imperial Cones come from the Philippines so the winner is quite fortunate to own a Hawaiian specimen. These two are donated from the collection of Richard Kent.