Whenever pearls are uptrending, then mother-of-pearl usually follows as a less expensive alternative. And when you have mother-of-pearl so visible, then you’re likely to start seeing more examples, including the spectacular striations and iridescent colors found in abalone.
The shell is composed of nacre (mother-of-pearl), which in many species is highly iridescent, giving rise to a range of strong changeable colors, which make the shells attractive to humans as decorative objects, jewelry, and as a source of colorful mother-of-pearl.
The striking blues and greens found in abalone can sometimes be as dramatic as those found in opals, a much rarer and more expensive gemstone. A major difference, however, abalone meat is edible and extremely delicious, giving another reason for its popularity.
Designer Steven Lagos gives abalone a modern treatment in this sterling silver earrings, but there’s no mistaking the fact the shellfish puts on quite a dramatic show.