Abalone Shell

saf-ahyuh r

Abalone shell is a particularly prized type of mother-of-pearl, as it displays iridescence unmatched by any other mollusk. Its bold blues and greens give way to a rainbow of flashes of other colors to create a truly unique display.

Abalone Shell Polished
Abalone Shell Classification
Common Name Abalone Shell
Species Shell
Abalone Shell Optical Properties
Transparency Translucent - Opaque
Refractive Index 1.530-1.685
Birefringence 0.155
Polariscope Reaction Aggregate (AGG)
Fluorescence SWUV: Variable
LWUV: Variable
Pleochroism None
Abalone Shell Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 3.5
Specific Gravity 2.700-2.890 Typical:2.860
Toughness Fair
Inclusions Abalone shell cameos will show concave backs due to structure of the shell. Shells will display iridescence or strong orient and will have parallel growth structure. Abalone shell is darker in color than mother-of-pearl and has a gray backgound.
Luster Greasy, Pearly
Fracture Uneven, Splintery
Cleavage None
Abalone Shell Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name calcium carbonate, conchiolin and water
Chemical Formula CaCO3 with H2O and other organic materials
Crystal System NA
Chemistry Classification Organic

Abalone Shell Colors

  • Black Abalone Shell Black
  • Multi-color Abalone Shell Multi-color
  • Green Abalone Shell Green
  • Gray Abalone Shell Gray
  • Blue Abalone Shell Blue
  • Bi-color Abalone Shell Bi-color

Alternate Names

Paua Shell

Countries of Origin

New Zealand; Argentina; United States of America (the); Unknown; China; Brazil; Mexico; Philippines (the); Thailand; India; Indonesia


Since the abalone pearls are rare and very expensive, most abalone jewelry is made from the mother-of-pearl. This is located on the interior of the abalone's single shell. It displays iridescence color in a free-form design. Equally as lovely as the unique abalone pearls, abalone shell jewelry pieces offer ravishing beauty.


Abalone and abalone pearl are relatively soft, so they're often placed in protective settings. Remember that these are organic gems and should be treated with extra care. Do not use an ultrasonic or steam cleaner or use chemicals. Store this gemstone in a soft fabric away from other gems to ensure its protection.

More About Abalone Shell

The folkloric benefits attributed to abalone apply to both the pearls and the shells (in most instances). Some believe that abalone may be beneficial in difficult, emotionally charged situations because the purported properties include a calming effect and the creation of a stable atmosphere. Some believe the abalone pearl brings a sense of calming and relaxation because it comes from the ocean. To those who believe in the metaphysical, abalone is credited with the ability to do a great deal. Our favorite legend says that holding a piece of abalone will help you appreciate the beauty around you. Wearing a piece of lovely abalone jewelry is certainly a way to add beauty to your world!

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Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.