Paua is a species of abalone found only in New Zealand waters. Paua are harvested for their meat and prized for their brilliantly colored shells. The color of Paua shell is predominantly shades of green, purple, and blue, and some shells have gold or pink tonings. Interesting black patterns in the shell come from layers of protein that are laid down between the layers of calcium that make up the shell. The brilliant iridescence of the paua shell comes from light being refracted within the crystal layers of the shell. Paua shell used in jewelry is a by product of catching paua mollusks for their meat. The paua fishery is managed is a regulated, sustainable way. It is harvested by free-divers who pry paua off the rocks without the aid of air tanks.
This beautiful turtle is approximately 41.5mm x 38.5mm, and can be worn as a pin or a pendant. Photos of jewelry are enlarged to show detail.