At least I think they're actual shell. I'm pretty sure this is either paua shell or abalone, but I'm leaning more towards paua. They look like the kind of cheapy shell jewelry you can get at touristy shops here, if I'm being completely honest. The shell comes in one strip, like paper, and you just cut whatever shapes you want. There's an adhesive backing, and you just peel it off and stick it on your nail. The only thing is, it doesn't feel at all like paper. It's stiff, kind of thick, and brittle. If pieces break off, they remind me of these little shell pieces that I have for other nail art, so that's why I'm pretty sure it's shell. I got it from Born Pretty Store, and I'm pretty sure this is what I got, in case you want to try it out!