Shells are naturally created from a variety of salt and freshwater creatures. The
variety available is astounding and shells of all types have found their way into jewelry creations for
centuries. Some jewelry is made from parts of shells and some from whole shells. Below are a few
of the most popular varieties and uses of shells in jewelry.
Abalone Shells: The outer part of these shells are not nearly as attractive as the multi-hued
coloring of the inner shell.
Paua Shells: From the same family as Abalone, these shells are similar in appearance, but tend to
have more definite patterns than abalone shells. Often dyed and coated with a resin covering to enhance their
Mother of Pearl: A general term used for a technique of utilizing the smooth underside of a shell in
fragments or cut pieces in various shapes or combined together with other fragments in a design pattern.
Dyes are sometimes used with Shells and Mother of Pearl to enhance their natural beauty
as shown in these specimens above. Deposits are obtained from the shores of oceans and streams around
Color: Varies greatly
Mohs' Hardness Scale: Varies
Transparency: Normally opaque, but some varieties, such as
Capiz have a degree of transparency.