Paua shell / Abalone

Paua Shell

Abalone is an edible marine snail (mollusc) from the Haliotidae family of shellfish and the Haliotis genus. Also known as univalves, they have a row of small openings which are used for expelling water after aerating its gills. Abalone are usually found in rocky, cold water, coastal areas of most continents. Since the flesh and the shell are valuable most species of abalone are protected with a quota system and by controlled use of equipment to harvest them.

The abalone shell is usually an iridescent silvery white with hints of green, blue and red. PAUA or 'sea opal' (Haliotus Iris) is unique to New Zealand's southern coastal waters and is a deep blue, green or purple with occasional hints of red or pink.

The encrusted marine growth on the outside of the shell is usually removed by wet grinding. The shell is then polished to give the expected appearance in the photo above. The fine dust particles (calcium carbonate) from grinding, polishing or cutting the shell is a respiratory irritant.

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