Abalone Shell Jewelry Ideas

Written by jen kim
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Abalone Shell Jewelry Ideas
Lustrous abalone shells are considered good luck in many cultures. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Abalones belong to the mollusc family and are prized for the intricate and iridescent shell produced from their mantle secretions. There are a variety of different abalone types and colours. For example, Paua shells, from New Zealand, have vivid blue and green hues. Abalone shells are traditionally used to make jewellery and other decorative items.

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Earrings

Pieces of abalone shells can be cut and shaped into a variety of earrings, from chandelier-type earrings to simple studs. You can make a pair of teardrop abalone earrings using tools from the local craft store. You'll need bead wire, wire cutters, earring wires, abalone pieces or abalone beads and pliers. Cut two equal pieces of bead wire about two inches long. Drill holes into your abalone pieces using a 1/16-inch drill bit and string them onto the wire. Close the loop with the pliers and attach to earring wires.

Necklace

Abalone shells make dazzling and intricate necklace pendants. Just drill a hole in a piece of abalone, then string it on a strand of small seashells, pearls or beads. To make a simple pendant, take a piece of abalone and cut it to your desired shape using a blade or cutter. Some simpler shapes to carve include crosses and other geometric shapes. If you are an advanced wire wrapper, you can also wrap your pendant using gauge round wire. Drill a hole into the top of the shell piece using a 1/16 inch drill bit and insert a jump ring into the hole. Affix the ring to a bail hook and string on the necklace.

Bracelet

Create a pretty and iridescent abalone and pearl beaded bracelet using abalone shells and pearls. Purchase round abalone shell pieces from a craft store for beading, or prepare your own by drilling two holes into opposite ends of uniformly cut shell pieces using a 1/16 inch drill bit. Thread a pearl and an abalone piece onto bead wire and continue alternating pearls and abalone until the wire fits comfortably around your wrist. Use pliers to affix one end of the wire to a jump ring and the other end to a toggle clasp.

Beads

Make your own one-of-a-kind abalone beads using shells that have been thoroughly scrubbed with soap and water. Cut the shells into strips using a sharp blade or pair of cutters. Once you have the smaller strips, began cutting or carving the abalone into your desired bead sizes and shapes. It may be easier to tape the strip down to a flat surface for more precision. Drill a hole through the finished beads using a 1/16 inch drill bit. Always wear protective goggles to prevent the abalone dust from getting in your eyes.

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