A Tortoiseshell picture frame with a picture of a beautiful lady of that era with a pearl necklace and earrings. In nice condition with normal scratching and normal age wear. Turtleshell is a substance with a long history of use for articles of vanity and personal adornment. The term itself is a misleading one. The substance we know as tortoiseshell has nothing to do with land tortoises, rather it is derived from the shells of certain species of sea turtles, notably the hawksbill.