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Paua Shell

Paua is a species of abalone (Haliotis Iris), it is only found in the sea around New Zealand. This marine mollusk eats seaweed and lives clinging to rocks at depths of 1-10 meters, normally along the shoreline. There is no other shell in the world that has the colour like Paua Shell colour that varies from greens & pinks to purples & blues and even some shells with gold or crimson tonings. The colour in the paua shell changes when viewed at different angles. This iridescence, similar to that of Mother of Pearl shell, but far more brilliant, is what makes paua shell so amazing as a gem material for use in jewellery. It is truly one of nature's marvels. Each shell is different in it's colour tonings, and in the patterns within the shell. The 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 colours are from light being refracted within the crystal layers. The same effect that the iridescent colour found in Opals.

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Taken on November 8, 2007