I can't believe we're in the second week of February already! How did that happen?
On the bench this week is some gorgeous Paua shell from New Zealand. I know a lovely lady from the silversmithing studio that I go to, who has a daughter who lives in New Zealand. She sends pieces of Paua to her mother, who kindly gave me a bag of small pieces. The colours are so beautiful, the patterns so unique, it really is a pleasure to work with something so interesting. There are really vivid blues, pinks and greens, with some pieces looking exactly like pieces of opal ~ Mother Nature really does create stunning things.
For those of you that don't know, Paua is a type of Abalone that is only found in the seas around New Zealand. Paua are harvested by free divers, under strict quotas and enforced regulations, or the meat which is a Maori delicacy. The shells are a by-product. Maori's would use Paua shell in their paintings and sculpture to illuminate the eyes, the rare reddish colour was used for the flashing red eyes of the warriors!