Starshell Glossary

Traditionally, many starshells are named after flowers which they resemble. The terms concerning willows, kamuros, brocades, diadems etc can be very confusing sometimes, and usage varies from factory to factory. Here are the definitions which we think are most widespread.


Stars which fly and spin erratically, emitting sparks in many directions.


brocade with gold pistil
Origin: "lace". A descriptive term which can be applied to shells of many shapes. In Brocade shells the stars emit trails of sparks as they fall, usually golden and brighter than the trails emitted in chrysanthemums.


Chrysanthemum with pistil
One of the most common "classic" shells. The burst should be symmetrical with one or more concentric spheres of comet stars (which trail sparks). Larger Chrysanthemums with multiple layers are referred to as "double" and "triple".


golden coconut
Similar to a Palm, but with more and smaller "fronds".

Colour changing

Stars with multiple layers - they change colour as they radiate outwards.


A sound effect - stars crackle as they travel


The ignition of the stars is delayed, each star appearing as its secondary burst splits it into four parts, creating an criss-crossing network of comet trails. Also referred to as "Shuttle".





Refers to just that, a crown and thus the shape of the bursting shell. Confusion comes from the fact that all crowns are not created equal; so are we referring to the golden crown of a king with its slightly arched over pointed tips or the tiara of a beauty queen? In fireworks, we believe we should stick to the former and remember that these pointed crowns often had a jewels at their tip - hence stars which flash brightly before they extinguish.



Named after the flower. Spherical like the flower, but with fewer, larger, brighter comet stars than a chrysanthemum.


Refers to jewel, usually rubies and emeralds but of course includes diamonds and I suppose could be extended to include amethyst, topaz etc. The important thing is that each respective jewel connotes a corresponding colour. It would be fair to think that if someone decides to name a shell a ruby diadem, that we should expect to see some red. I believe that many have chosen this description in place of saying red tipped chrysanthemum.



An intense yellow-orange colour, named after the pigment - a gum resin from various Asian trees of the genus Garcinia, also used as a herbal remedy for constipation and indigestion!





Kamuro: A Japanese reference to long hair or perhaps more specifically a bowl shaped cut. (This may depend on deferent dialects of Japanese or simply barbers.) Nevertheless everyone expects to see a long burning hanging shell looking like an umbrella or "bowl haircut" Should be symmetric and less bushy than a willow, almost perfectly round, and may or may not reach the ground (depending on your barber and the firing site!)


A few large stars (usually 20) which emit sparks at right angles to the star's direction of travel, creating a "frond" effect. These shells often emit tails as they rise, resembling the tree trunk.


A 'classic' simple shell. Spherical like a chrysanthemum, but with ball stars, which do not trail sparks. (Our photo is, like most fireworks images, a time exposure).


An inner burst at the centre of a flower style firework.


A shell which burts into a coloured ring with a blank centre. Often in two colours.



A loud concussive report. Titanium salutes accompany this with a bright white flash caused by a cloud of titanium sparks burning.


A shell which breaks in an upward direction with relatively few, long-burning stars, thus resembling a creepy crawlie with too many legs. We've also seen the term "spider web" in use, but this seems to refer to a brocade-like effect.


Stars which burn dim and bright in rapid succession.


swimmimg stars
A shell which explodes into wiggling swimming stars.




Willow: Simply refers to the shape of the shell patterned after the weeping willow. To me they should be golden with a full bushy star and somewhat of a hanging branching pattern just like the tree. Note that they are not necessarily perfectly round. Also note that they are not spider-like as that term should be reserved for another shell.


waves shell
A shell in which the stars are asymmetrical so they fly with a wriggling or spiraling path.



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