The conch is basically a term generally used to describe a variety of sea snails and shell creatures.
But it is generally agreed to be most appropriately applied to large sea snails that have shells with a high spire.
A marine biologist might argue otherwise and point out what makes a “true” conch. But that debate is not the purpose of this discussion.
The whole creature itself can be fully harvested for useful means with zero waste just like the lotus plant.
It is therefore, one of the creatures that are highly revered in Chinese symbolism.
For example, it’s meat is used as ingredients for various delicacies and salads, it’s pearls that can come in diverse colors have been used in jewelry since ancient times, and their shells with siphonal canals can be used to make instruments that make beautiful music. Even hermit crabs fight fiercely among each other for conchs shells to use as their homes.
In symbolism, the conch is more known for it’s shell.
The conch shell is a representation of royalty, successful voyages, wisdom and communication. So auspicious a symbol it encompass that it is one of the 8 auspicious objects found depicted on Buddha’s footprint.
The conch-shell trumpet is also a common instrument that is displayed on altars for Buddhist worship.
These trumpets, or horns, were also frequently mounted on boats so that one ship can warn another about it’s presence in times of fog and limited visibility.
When they are put on display at a residence or workplace, the placement is usually meant to bring an atmosphere of zen and spirituality to the area.
As such, natural conch shells are often found in meditation rooms and spiritual areas.
Those that are manufactured as commercial products are also often incorporated with items such as spiritual gemstones or as candle holders.
If you intend to put conch shells on display at home, just make sure not to kill them for the sole purpose of harvesting their shells. That is just bad karma.
Either pick up shells that are already empty from the beach, or purchase artificially manufactured ones from the store.