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Dressed abalone shell showing the nacre

Date: before 1988
Overall: 37 x 131 x 104 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Abalone shell, nacre
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from New South Wales Abalone Co-operative Society Ltd
Object Name: Abalone shell
Object No: 00005524

User Terms

    Abalone are marketed for both their flesh and their shell. This abalone shell features the iradescent colours of abalone shell and highlights their appeal as decorative obejcts.
    SignificanceThis shell provides an example of the range of products produced in the abalone industry.
    HistoryAbalone are marine gastropods (snails) living along the rocky shore often in deep crevices. They cling to rocks with their very strong foot or abductor muscle and have a single, hard, saucer-shaped shell for protection. They feed on marine algae. The most commercially important are the black-lip abalone, while the green-lip are favoured for their white flesh.

    Divers work in cold waters around Australia's southern coasts prying abalone from rocks with a knife or abalone iron. The pressure to gather the most abalone means that some divers work to depths and for periods exceeding safety limits.

    Abalone are marketed for both their flesh and their shell. Commercial fishing did not start until the 1960s when dried abalone flesh was exported to Asia. The industry has become a high export earner with regular shipments of live, frozen or canned abalone to Japan, Malaysia, Germany and the USA. Shell has long been used for inlaid furniture, particularly in Korea, and is also popular as soap dishes and ashtrays.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Dressed abalone shell

    Primary title: Dressed abalone shell showing the nacre

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