Abalone Pearls

The most colorful of all pearl-producing mollusks isHaliotis rufescens, more commonly known as the red abalone. An array of opal-like iridescent colors races across the shell, both inside and out. Of course, the more important iridescence is inside the shell-the "mother-of-pearl," which dictates the color of the pearl. But unlike most pearl-producing mollusks, the abalone has only one shell. Abalone (pronounced AB-uh-LO-nee) is a univalve mollusk that bears more resemblance to a giant snail than an oyster. The mollusk slides along the sea floor, using its colorful shell as a protective roof. Abalone pearls are created by the mollusk in the same manner as those of other oysters, but because of its one-shell structure, the pearls are both rare and unusually shaped. History and romance. Natural abalone pearls are found from Baja California (the Mexican peninsula's coast just south of Sa
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