What is a pāua shell

All our jewellery is made with the very colourful pāua shell. This beautiful shell is part of the abalone species and is only found along the coast of New Zealand. To be honest, the pāua shell is actually a sea snail. These sea snails are living on the rocks and eat seaweed. The holes in a pāua shell have several purposes. They’re used for breathing, reproduction, and for the removal of waste. 

The New Zealand waters are very well-known for their water quality, which are very rich in minerals. These minerals give the pāua shell its intense colour and thickness of shell.

Because these pāua shells are only found in this area of the world, there are strict rules about catching them, to limit the collection and ensure sustainability. They will have to be harvested by using only traditional “free diving” methods, the use of scuba equipment is strictly forbidden. 

The word “pāua” is actually a name given by the Māoris, the indigenous people of New Zealand. The Maoris eat the meat of the shell as tradition, which is a real New Zealand delicacy. 

The main reason the pāua shell is harvested in New Zealand is for its meat. Therefore, the shell is a by-product. Without using these shells, they would be discarded. However, by buying a piece of pāua shell jewellery, you are helping to ensure nothing goes to waste.

Check out our jewellery here.


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