Abalone Shell 02 Blue Paua (Haliotis Iris) Medium 14-16 cm (1 pc)
An Abalone is a single shelled sea snail, a gastropod mollusk in the Haliotidae family (along with whelks and sea slugs). These shells are Haliotis Iris, also known as Blue Pāua, which is a species of abalone found exclusively in New Zealand. They are prized for their bright turquoise colour, with an iridescent sheen, in some cases, reminiscent of the Aurora Borealis. This is the most common species of New Zealand abalones and can grow up to 18cm in width.
Abalone shells are a gift from the sea and, thus, symbolically represent the water element during a smudging ceremony, while the herb represents earth, the flame is fire, and smoke represents air, carrying our prayers to the Spirit world.
Abalones have become an endangered species in certain areas of the world. As demand for its meat and shell continues to increase, wild Abalone fishing has been banned in some areas and quotas for fishermen of wild Abalone have been reduced in other sensitive areas. Fortunately Abalone farms have sprung up in several places around the world, taking a great deal of pressure off their wild cousins. Farming of abalone began in the late 1950s. Today there are Abalone farms in over 20 countries around the world.
Farmed shells are generally distinguishable from the wild ones by the fact that they are cleaner (less calcium/barnacles buildup) and in better condition than wild-harvested shells. The colour and uniformity of the rings on the outer shells also indicate steady, farm-fed feeding habits. However, as the the art of Abalone farming develops, farmers have now begun to take the art of farming out of land based vats and back into the sea by "seeding" designated areas along coastlines and where food and water quality are carefully monitored. Shells from these farms are almost indistinguishable from their wilder cousins and therefor it becomes increasingly important for vendors to check their sources.
Turtle Lodge Trading Post has always purchased our Abalone from farmed sources. Larger farmed shells are becoming increasingly difficult to find, because most Abalone farms sell when the Abalones are about 11-12 cm.