We stopped, on a whim, at a little hole in the wall paua shell factory on the main drag in Riverton, New Zealand.
Wondering where Riverton is? Pretty much at the end of the world. If you find Invercargill on the map and look down the coast to the south and west you’ll see it. There’s nothing there to speak of, except LOTS AND LOTS of paua.
What is paua? Abalone. It’s collected for its meat. The shell is a secondary project. Once the outer layer is removed the shell is a thousand spectacular hues of blue, green, purple and black. They come in pearly pink too.
We took a lot of video because the man who was there was so fantastic. He took a great deal of time explaining things to us, showing us how the creature is taken from live to food, to shell to jewelry. He even polished up one of the shells we’d found ourselves on the beach a few weeks ago.
The video is about half an hour long, but so worth your time, you’ll learn tons, we promise!