Polished Shell Pieces

Polished Pāua Pieces

New Zealand Pāua Shell (Haliotis Iris) also known as abalone in many other countries is a type of shellfish found only in New Zealand.

Known for its amazing colour and iridescence, Pāua is found throughout New Zealand. For use in jewellery and craft, BeachComber uses shells from the crisp clear waters of the South Island.

It all starts with divers gathering the shellfish. The Pāua system is strictly controlled in New Zealand with quota systems in place.

Divers may only gather the Pāua by freediving. No breathing apparatus is allowed to be used. Pāua must be 125mm in length for the majority of New Zealand.

Once the Pāua are gathered, the meat is processed and the bulk of it is exported around the world. Pāua is a delicacy enjoyed in an array of meals. In New Zealand, Pāua is enjoyed as a ‘fritter’. A pan-fried mix of Pāua, onions, flour and egg. We love this recipe

The shells are put aside for use later on and this is when the magic begins.

At BeachComber, we’ve been manufacturing products with Pāua shells for over 30 years so we know what we are doing when it comes to getting the best shells.

  • First, we grade the shell for thickness and colour.
  • Then we crush them with our traditional method used for over 25 years.
  • We then place the crushed shell into a ‘tumbler’. The shell is then in this machine for 4 days with a natural media to make the shell highly polished.  
  • We started with over 600 kgs of shell in the tumbler. The process means that the weight reduces by a third due to the hard outer shell being removed to ensure a smooth finish.
  • We then dry the shell
  • It then goes back into the tumbler to be polished for another 2 days to ensure the shell is beautifully smooth and glossy
  • After that our Pāua shell pieces are graded to size and ready for purchase for crafts, gifts and projects around the home.

Take a look below at our range of shell pieces for all of your projects. We ship worldwide.