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Updated on May 5, 2015


Paua-(Abalone)The most beautiful,vibrant shell in the world.cleaned ,shined and polished then made into jewelry, crafts,decorating tiles,carvings and statues.

Paua comes from the Hallotidae family. There are 130 different species found world wide in tropical and temperate oceans.The north coast of America have a species called the abalone.Japan have the Awabi.Australia call their Hallotidae shellfish the abalone and was previously know as the Mutton Fish.Here in New Zealand the Paua.

In New Zealand we have 3 types of Paua.

HALIOTIS IRIS PAUA-The largest of our group and highly prized for the vibrant rich blue and green shell.The Maori (indigenous)people of New Zealand use them to bring life to their carvings.and this is the shell sourced for jewelry and craft.This paua is found in around the rocky coastline of the South Island.

HALIOTIS VIRGINEA-Silver Paua-This shell is smaller in size and is recognised for a more silver sheen mixed with blues and greens.This paua is also found living amongst the above larger variety but is not as prevalent and the flesh of the animal is more yellow in colour as opposed to black.

HALIOTIS VIRGINEA-Virgin Paua-This has a much smaller shell. with a rich strength of Colour.

Paua live on rocky Coastlines where they are found clinging to rocks in groups and feed on seaweed.They have tiny holes in a neat row along the side of their shell used for breathing and the starfish has learnt by blocking these holes the paua can't breathe and loses its grip on the rock.Paua often fall victim to the starfish for this reason.


Our paua are protected and we have extremely strict control of quotas on the amount that people are allowed to take.The coastline is also patrolled by Fisheries officers to make sure people do not take undersized stock. The penalties are tough for those found breaking the rules.People dive for paua and take them for eating.The Maori people have sourced paua for food for hundreds of years.



To see the Paua clinging to the rocks underwater you would have no idea that this shellfish has such a beautiful shell.Rich in blues,greens silvers and pinks when cleaned and polished you can,t help but be taken by its rich colourful sheen.You can see now why it is so prized for its use in Jewelry making a favourite amongst tourists.A gift from New Zealand.It is very difficult to collect the shells yourself and clean them as they have a thick layer of lime which is difficult to remove.But when professionally cleaned and polished this shell is a real treasure from the sea.


In the wild the Paua can produce a pearl.The result of an irritant.The animal secrets mother of pearl coating forming a pearl.However this is extremely rare and Human Intervention has been introduced to form the exclusive pearl jewelry of today.

Beautiful Jewelry

 The tourists that visit New Zealand love to take home a piece of paua jewelry or trinket.It is beautiful to wear and a great summer look.Goes great with a white top or is a perfect gift for that someone special.The blue lustre of the shell reminds me of the sea.

Check here for beautiful paua jewelry.

Shells For Craft and Jeweley

Paua is a versatile shell and perfect for craft and jewelry making as we also see other seashells used in a similar way. The mother of pearl has a beautiful lustre and is commonly used is similar way as the paua shell.

Enjoy browsing shells and shell themed products here.

Visit More Scenic Treasures and Places of New Zealand

View amazing scenic photography and come on outdoor day trips in the Auckland Region.

Come to my NZ website for more Click Here


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    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, it certainly is beautiful, I would definetely wear jewellery made from this, very interesting, thanks nell

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Interesting hub on Paua and great pictures. I bought some Paua shell earrings when I was in New Zealand, so I need to dig them out as they are great for wearing during the summer!