When I first started making woven abalone jewelry, I came across some incredible New Zealand paua shell that was so bright and colorful, I was hooked from that moment on. I taught myself how to weave the small chip pieces together to create beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Sometimes the quality I expect to get in the materials I work with changes, so I started to scour the internet to try to find someone with good quality abalone chip shell. I found a supplier that is based out of New Zealand. You can't get any closer to the source than that. I placed my order and eagerly awaited the arrival of my paua shell. When my package arrived I was very excited to inspect the quality of the shell, and I was not disappointed. This is what I was expecting... beautiful color, thinner cuts, most of the calcium deposits gone, it was very usable front and back. Let the designing process begin! When I make a piece of jewelry out of shell, I first carefully sort the shell by size, thickness, shape, color, and sometimes by the natural pattern that occurs on the shell. You cannot create balance and flow in a piece of jewelry by just randomly putting things together as you grab it out of a bag or box, it requires some thought and planning. Next comes drilling and filing as necessary, and then determining what metals, crystals, and beads best showcase the natural beauty of the shell. It is a process that takes time but it is well worth the effort when the project is complete.