Abalone Shell Jewelry
The abalone shell has been coveted for centuries for its iridescent glimmer and natural decorative patterns. Early civilizations all around the globe showcased the shell for its ornamental beauty — from the Native Americans of the United States to the Maori of New Zealand.
Abalone Shell: Swirling Shades of the Sea
The one-piece abalone shell, which is round or oval, sometimes resembles a flat ear shape, leading to abalone's nickname "ear-shell." There are about one hundred different abalone varieties, including the exquisite paua shell, which has a bluish tint and hails from New Zealand. Abalone is a member of the same mollusk family that includes clams, oysters and mussels.
A true treasure of the sea, abalone shell adds a mystical beauty to jewelry designs. Prized across all continents, abalone shell shimmers in a palette of soothing sea shades, including blue and green. No two pieces of abalone shell are exactly alike, giving each piece of jewelry a unique beauty that can't be duplicated.
Abalone shell comes in a range of shades including blue, green, black — even pink and red. For use in jewelry, each abalone shell is cut and polished to reveal a striking color display. Abalone shell is most often featured in sterling silver jewelry designs, such as rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
The majority of abalone is found off the coasts of southern Australia and Africa, northern Japan and western North America. The paua variety is only found in the waters near New Zealand.