The Mg, Sr, Mn, Fe, Na and K contents were determined for 230 apparently unrecrystallized mollusk shells (gastropods and bivalves) ranging in age from late Cretaceous to Holocene. Consistent differences between the Holocene and fossil shells with respect to concentrations of all these elements are attributed to postburial diagenetic changes. Fossil-Holocene shell comparisons are made on the intergeneric level, a more severe test of compositional differences than was previous work involved with few species. The observed differences re-emphasize the need for extreme caution in the use of the many geochemical tools which assume that no compositional changes have taken place prior to recrystallization of calcareous materials. ?? 1979.