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Information about Abalone Shells (Haliotis sp)
Abalone shells, which can attain lengths of up to twenty centimetres, are flat, asymmetrical (ear-shaped) and spirally coiled with a low spire and a row of open holes on a curved line along one edge. A distinctive feature of these unique shells is the brilliant iridescent nacreous (mother of pearl) lining.


Abalone Shells

polished abalone shellAbalone shells, which can attain lengths of up to twenty centimetres, are flat, asymmetrical (ear-shaped) and spirally coiled with a low spire and a row of open holes on a curved line along one edge. As in most gastropods, water is swept into the mantle cavity by ciliary action. The holes allow for out-flowing water to pass through carrying with it respiratory, excretory and alimentary wastes without endangering the head and other sensitive organs. From time to time as the shell grows and the abalone ages a new hole is formed whilst an older one closes over. These disused holes remain evident forming a spiral pattern around the shell's exterior.

The outer shell covering contains a white, calcium layer. The inside of the shell is iridescent and contains a variety of colors including pink, blue and green.

A distinctive feature of these unique shells is the brilliant iridescent nacreous (mother of pearl) lining which decorates the inner surface, making the entire shell both a novel ornament and a favourite for costume jewelry.

The Abalone Shell is believed to have healing properties.

Traditional Mother-of-Pearl comes from Oyster Shells.

Abalone shells were used as coin in ancient times.

Pāua (pronounced "pah-wah") is the New Zealand Māori name given to abalone.

Did you Know? Mother-of-pearl looks dainty hanging from a necklace, but this iridescent inside of abalone shells is so tough it can withstand the weight of a truck.  Read more about this here at Live Science



The World's Largest Recorded Abalone Shell

Size: 12 5/16” (313.0 mm).
Taken By: John Pepper.
Date: 5 Sept. 1993.
Locality: Oregon.
2nd Largest: 11 29/32” (302 mm).
World’s largest known abalone shell. Only specimen known to have reached or exceeded the “mythical” size of 12 inches


cleaned polished abalone shell, how to clean abalone shellTo clean Abalone Shells

Use a wire brush on the outside of the shell to remove any barnacles and debris.

Rub a generous coat of petroleum jelly on the inside of the shell. This will protect the surface from the muriatic acid.

Put on the breathing mask and rubber gloves to protect your hands from the muriatic acid. The acid is harmful to your lungs if inhaled and is dangerous if it comes into contact with your skin.

Place the shell upside down on a wooden bench or table and pour the muriatic acid over the shell's outside surface.

Allow to sit untouched for approximately five minutes while the acid takes effect.

Scrub the shell with the wire brush, removing any debris and shells that may be attached to it.

Rinse the acid and debris from shell thoroughly with warm water. The shell should begin to appear a bright red color.

Pour mineral oil over the shell and rub with the soft cloth.

Use the cloth to remove the petroleum jelly from the inside of the shell.

The shell is now processed and ready to use. Jewelry is commonly crafted from processed abalone shells; however the shell can also be used as a simple display piece if desired.

Abalone shells can also be cleaned in a rock polisher.

Caution:
When vinegar and seashells are combined for an extended period, vinegar can cause a seashell to dissolve because seashells are made mostly of calcium carbonate, which reacts with the acid in vinegar.


See Also: 
Information on Abalone
Commercial Fishery & Aquaculture of Abalone
Cooking Abalone & Abalone Recipes
About Abalone Shell

 

 


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