Abalone: A shell, considered an Organic Gemstone
Zodiac: Pisces, Cancer, Sagittarius
Planet: Neptune, the Moon
Element: Water, Akasha
Found: Found in cold waters, along the coasts of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, and Western North America and Japan in the Northern Hemisphere.
Abalone is actually a shell, not a stone. It naturally contains color variations of iridescent purple, pink, blue, yellow and green, swirling and rippling it. It inherently reflects the rainbow beauty of the ocean. The shell is soft & smooth to the touch from repeated tumbles in the sand and water. Whole Abalone shells are home to sea snails called mollusk, ranging from small to large. Their rounded or oval one-piece shells belong to the family Haliotidea, genus haliotis. Due to the flattened shape of the shell, they earned the nickname ‘sea ear.’ The holes across the shell are respiratory pores for breathing and the creature within has a muscular foot for clamping on to rocks when feeding. Abalone shells are made from tiny particles of a very soft material (calcium carbonate or chalk) yet are very difficult to crack. Researchers have recently discovered that the secret is the ‘glue’, an organic polymer that binds thin layers of calcium carbonate together to form an incredibly tough outer shell.
Individual Abalones can live for many years and reach sizes of up to 8 inches in length. ‘Abalone’ is the North American name for the mollusk, which is known as Paua in New Zealand, Ormer in Britain’s Channel Islands and Awabi in Japan. Abalone stocks are dangerously low all over the world and White Abalone is listed under the Endangered Species Act in the USA. Shell used in the jewelry and furniture trade mainly comes from sustainable Abalone farms. Collecting Abalone from their natural habitat is strongly discouraged and in many areas is illegal.
Metaphysical & Spiritual History
Abalone connects with the element of water, and taps into the soothing, grace, beauty & calm of the sea. Soothing & healing to the overall emotional body, Abalone can ease anxieties and nervousness. As it naturally holds colors of the rainbow within its shell, it is said to balance & heal the meridians. Abalone, being a water element, aids in communication, the flow of expression & ideas, strengthens ones compassion, and also commitment to ideals & relationships. For relationships, Abalone can help one to understand both sides of a situation, and approach situations and one’s partner with empathy, compassion, and compromise – it helps you to ebb and flow through your life, while still allowing you to speak your truth from a place a wholeness.
An important tool for the Native Northwest American Indians, this shell has been used as a natural vessel for cleansing, offerings and prayers. In the Apache tradition a disc of abalone shell is worn on the forehead of Apache girls, on the morning of their initiation into womanhood. Many use Abalone shells during smudging, letting it hold and carry the herbs, sage or smudge bundles as they burn.