Marine life, Country diary - The Guardian:
We have beachcombed this tideline on scores of summer days but have only gone home with painted top shells (Calliostoma zyzyphinum) on a handful of occasions.
Of all the shells washed ashore here, this is the most desirable: a pointed yellow cone decorated with purple streaks. Stand it on its tip and it resembles a 1in tall replica of an old-fashioned spinning top. Read rest of article here