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Pendant made out of abalone shell

Date: 1980-1989
Overall: 11 x 76 x 76 mm
Medium: Paua shell
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from New South Wales Abalone Co-operative Society Ltd
Object Name: Pendant
Object No: 00005521

User Terms

    This pendant was created from paua (abalone) shell. Paua is the Maori name given to three species of large edible sea snails, known as abalone in Australia.
    SignificanceThis pendant is an example of the range of products made from abalone shell, and is representative of the abalone industry as a whole.
    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.

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