Friday’s Favorites: Abalone

Sorry that this post is late, I have been busy and have not had the time to take proper pictures of my favorites. So to make up for the past two weeks, I will post two today, and be on time for tomorrow!

abalone galore

abalone galore

group of abalone shells

group of abalone shells

Abalone shells have always been a favorite of mine. The coloring is always so fantastic, and unexpected. If the shell had seen a little action, then the back may also have been worn away to reveal the coloring. In California we mostly saw the black, green and red variety.

Growing up in Southern California, 1 mile from the beach certainly was a good thing! We often went to the tide pools below the Palos Verdes cliffs, and to the long strip of sand that outlined the closely connected beach cities of Redondo, Torrance, Hermosa and Manhattan.

Sadly I think that the shells are fewer to be found, due to over-harvesting and global warming perhaps. It was not until recently that the Pua shell has been used for many things that the abalone shell would have been used for.

inlaid abalone lid

inlaid abalone lid

The Pua shell is a thinner shell, and the coloring is more vibrant tending to the turquoise and deep purples, where the abalone is known for the more subtle tones of pink, green, and lavender. Both are favorites for me.

This is a close-up view of the incredible work that was done on this little box door. I bought this as that thrift store as is, just the door.

I also bought the fish, with scales of abalone and the egg at the thrift store. The open fan has inlaid abalone on the end spines and detail on the inner spines, the folded fan just on the ends. I bought both of these on Ebay.

jewelry made from abalone

jewelry made from abalone

Once a “surfer girl” always a “surfer girl” as my friend Tina would probably agree.

We both loved the Beach Boys, and even went to a few concerts of theirs! We went to all of the surfer movies, because we of course were avid surfets (watchers of surfing type boys!).

On the weekends we would ride our bikes to the “strand” which was a cemented sidewalk that ran the length of the beach cities. Sometimes we would lay-out to tan and sometimes we would grab a soda and a hogie, watch the boys and the waves and enjoy the fact that we were young. We of course had a favorite bead store that we frequented often and bought shells and beads to make necklaces to wear so that we would be “oh so cool”.


abalone pin

Well Tina, as you can see I still am wearing this glorious shell. The two leaf pins (the maple leaf was my grandmother’s) and the bracelet are vintage. The necklace and the two bracelets are made from abalone and pua shell beads and buttons. The flower earrings are made from Pua shell, and the other two are made from abalone.

My dad also loved abalone and Mother of Pearl, he used both as the details on the frets of his banjo that he made and restored. He helped me to make this pin when I was in high school. I cut out the palm-tree from a shell that I found, he cut left over ebony into the oval shape and routed out the outline the we filled it with epoxy colored with ebony dust. This will be a treasure that I will keep always.

Enjoy, thanks for looking… Christen

One thought on “Friday’s Favorites: Abalone

  1. oooo Christen, I adore Abalone, this post is really fantastic! You have it all going on! As luck would have it I just picked up a ‘standard’ shell at the thrift shoppe on Friday for a song, I just couldn’t pass it up:) I have a pair of triangular shaped abalone earrings that I enjoy wearing too.
    Fun imagining you a surfer girl, and your pin is so very special too!

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