Paua Seashell Jewelry

Paua Shell Bracelet

Paua is the name given to a group of mollusks endemic to the coasts of New Zealand. Belonging to the family Haliotidae, (genus Haliotis), these mollusks are more commonly known as abalone in the northern hemisphere.

Three species can be found on the coasts of New Zealand; the Silver Paua (Haliotis australis), Virgin Paua (Haliotis virginea), and the most common and renowned one, Paua (Haliotis iris). The largest can grow up to 18 cms long. They can often be found clinging to the rocky shores of the coast with their strong muscular feet.

The name “Paua” comes from the language of the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand.The Maori people refer to Paua as "taonga," or "treasure" and highly regard it as both a treasured food and jewelry making material. Traditionally, the muscular feet of Paua mollusks are eaten by the Maori as a seafood delicacy, while the Shell of the Paua is used in arts and crafts.

Sometimes referred to as “Shell Opal”, Paua shells are prized as a source of jewelry material since their interior features iridescent swirls of blue, green, purple, and pink. The color appears to change depending on the angle viewed, so during movement light reflects off the Paua creating “flares” of iridescent hues that often catch people’s eye. Paua shells are considered one of the world’s most attractive shells, making them a perfect source of jewelry material.

Few shells possess the range and depth of color that Paua shells naturally have. The gathering of Paua is strictly regulated, with limits set on both size and number per day that can be caught. This is no suprise given their natural rarity and the depletion of ocean life thats been a trend for many years now.

Paua Shell EarringsPaua Shell Bracelet

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