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African Abalone Shells

Left: African Abalone Shells:5-7"
Right: Top: 5.75"-6" (14.5-15 cm); Bottom: 5"-5.5" (13-14 cm)

Mini African Abalone Shells Natural vs. Bleached

See our Abalone Shells on

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Abalone shells are often used for smudging ceremonies by the Native Americans in the United States and Canada.  

The African green abalone shells shown above are edged and cleaned.   They have been cleaned and polished on the inside; the outside is clean, but still rough. The sizes have been obtained by measuring the longest side of the shell with a flat ruler.

Order Code Description    Price Each
R-220-10-13B African Abalone Shell:Mini:Bleached:1-3" Buy on
R-220-10-13N African Abalone Shell:Mini:Natural:1-3"
R-220-10-1013 African Abalone Shell:Natural:4.0-5.0"
R-220-10-1314 African Abalone Shell:Natural:5.0-5.5"
R-220-10-1415 African Abalone Shell:Natural:5.5-6.0"
R-220-10-1516 African Abalone Shell:Natural:6.0-6.5"
R-220-10-19+ African Abalone Shell:Natural:7.5"+

Genus and species: Haliotis midae.
Shells that are 5.5" and larger are Wild. Smaller than 5.5" shells are Ranch-raised.

This particular species of abalone was placed under CITES III trade controls by South Africa in May 2007.  In June 2010, the South African government removed the CITES status on this shell. No CITES permits are required any longer.

The larger shells (5.5" and larger) are generally from wild stock found in the ocean.  These shells were harvested legally by commercial canning operations in South Africa.  Because of over harvesting and rampant poaching, the wild stocks are under threat.  The smaller shells are almost all from commercial aquaculture operations and are a renewable resource that is not under any threat.

USFWS export permit is required for all shipments outside the USA.

Product of South Africa

Approximate Shell Weights

We weighed five random shells in each size to determine the average weight per shell in each size.

Order Code Description Avearge Shell Weight (KG) Average Shell Weight (LB)
R-220-10-1013 African Abalone Shell:Cleaned & Edged:4-5” 0.07 0.15
R-220-10-1314 African Abalone Shell:Cleaned & Edged:5-5.5” 0.12 0.26
R-220-10-1415 African Abalone Shell:Cleaned & Edged:5.5-6" 0.18 0.40
R-220-10-1516 African Abalone Shell:Cleaned & Edged:6-6.5" 0.21 0.46
R-220-10-19+ African Abalone Shell:Cleaned & Edged:7.5"+ 0.33 0.73


African vs. Mexican Abalone Shells

The cleaning and edging of the African shells is far superior to what we have seen from the Mexican shells.  Often, the Mexican shells are often varnished as well.  From what I have seen lately, I much prefer the African shells to the Mexican ones.  For the polished shells, there is not much difference in quality.  For Mexican abalone shells, click HERE.

International Trade in Abalone Shells

We can offer large volume shipments of cultivated African abalone shells.  Please call Paul Crosby at +1.416.232.0376 or write to for more information.

The wild shells are no longer available in any commercial quantities.  The legal harvest of these shells in the wild is being stopped.  All future shells will come from farming.

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