Abalone Meaning and Properties

Abalone Shell Meaning

A guide for the history, meaning, and properties of Abalone Shells.

Water Element | Cleansing Energy | Spiritual Attunement

To many, abalone shells have a long history of spiritual meaning, as they have been used in decorations and jewelry for centuries; as a result, some believe that these shells have a connection to a water element. Others believe that abalone shells can provide guidance and healing when used in spiritual rituals.

Since some believe that these shells have metaphysical properties, their use has not been limited in recent times. Some believe an abalone shell has greater meaning and purpose when used with sage or incense burning, as it can help instill greater calm for cleansing. This, however, has not been backed by modern science.

Close view of a vibrant abalone shell

Abalone shells are sometimes said to be symbols of the sea and have a deep connection to feminine energy or the Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess. This would give the abalone shell greater meaning than being just an elemental material.

Others view the abalone shell as a symbol and meaning of life, and this could be related to its history of being associated with water, another symbol of life to many. Because of this, there is a very good chance that you have seen abalone shell and incense bundled together for meditation purposes.

Scientific Information 

Physically, abalone shells are nacreous materials that come from abalones, which are marine snails. The shells generally have an iridescent shine that has made abalone shell jewelry quite popular. While this material is not a gemstone or a mineral in the truest sense, it is considered an "organic gemstone" by many. All this really means is that it is a natural material that many consider to be a gemstone or use it as such.

Nacre is a tough and resilient material. The structure of nacre is well-structured, defined, and robust.  Its toughness cannot be understated. The nacre making up the abalone shell owes its strength to its interlocked platelets. Nacre’s structure resembles something like bricks in a wall. Its use in décor and jewelry is ancient. Abalone was harvested for consumption. The Japanese had known about the creature for ages, with records going as far back as 30 A.D. Even today Japan continues to export large quantities of abalone. China has been particularly fond of the creature since the 90s with abalone culture now being quite common on the coast.

Sterling silver fairy pendant with abalone shell wings

There are numerous types of abalone shells, probably too many to name here, and you can find a wide variety of colors if you look at jewelry and décor all across the globe.

Historically, Native Americans have used abalone shells for spiritual meaning and purpose. However, after colonization, these precious shells have become a common feature of American jewelry, particularly among those along the West Coast.

Since abalone shells come from a creature, there have been concerns about the harvesting process, and some scientists express worry over ocean warming, calcification, and acidification. Some abalones are considered endangered.

Climate concerns have been front and center for a while now. We support the ocean, nature, and all things on the Earth. Protecting our gorgeous and vast oceans should be a top priority for many. Carbon dioxide emissions are a top source for the acidification of the ocean, and abalones are only one victim of many. Many ocean critters depend on minerals for survival, and this acidification will put their lives at stake; many marine lives are at stake.

Pressure from the threat of ecological disaster have since brought many to consider certain initiatives to lessen the impact or acidification. Overall, trying to limit climate change in general has been a top priority, but many are looking into plans that can remove carbon dioxide from the ocean. The next step is to prevent more from going in.

The Wrap Up

Abalone shell has been used for centuries in decoration, jewelry, and design. It's no surprise why, either! These shells are simply gorgeous. If you've been wondering about abalone shell and meaning, then we hope that this has helped. you. Thank you for reading.

Hand holding abalone shell, showing off its pearly and iridescent nature


Lin, Albert Yu-Min, Po-Yu Chen, and Marc André Meyers. "The growth of nacre in the abalone shell." Acta Biomaterialia 4.1 (2008): 131-138.

Lin, Albert, and Marc André Meyers. "Growth and structure in abalone shell." Materials Science and Engineering: A 390.1-2 (2005): 27-41.

Olin, Paul. "Abalone Culture In Hawaii." University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822 (1994).

Nie, Zongqing, and Suping Wang. "The status of abalone culture in China." Journal of Shellfish Research, vol. 23, no. 4, 2004, p. 941+. Gale Academic OneFile, . Accessed 21 Dec. 2020.





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