Abalone shells have many names: Haliotis Iris, Paua Shells, Nacre, Mother-of-Pearl, Aulon, and Sea ear to name a few. They are also fantastically individual, no two abalone shells are quite the same. It is an organic gemstone, the same category as amber and pearl. Today in South Africa, abalone is still highly sought after, and their shells, which are known to have an especially colorful iridescence, are very valuable. While the North American west coast and South Africa are the two main sources for abalone, they can also be found along the coasts of New Zealand, Australia and Japan.