Spiney Oyster, Spondylus Princeps Broderip is found in the Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico. It appears in lower Baja California Sur Mexico. It was discovered in 1976 and began to be exported for jewelry making use in the Southwest by Indian Crafts people.
The shell comes in a variety of colors but mainly in red, orange, and purple; sometimes yellow and white. The color of the shell depends on the depth of the water that shell is in. Spondylus Calcifer commonly called Giant Pacific Rock Oyster is a purple that is found in water from 0-60 ft. After 60ft of water the white Spondylus appears and goes down to 90ft of water. After 90ft of water the reds and the oranges appear.
The name Spondylus is a Latin word that means spines on it's back. Broderip was the name of the Scientist who traveled with Cortez when Baja California was discovered and explored. The name Princep was given to this shell because when Cortez presented his marine discovers to the king of Spain who financed his expedition, the kings daughter fell in love with the shell. Therefore, the shell was named after the Princess.
There are many species of Spondylus, and they vary considerably in appearance and range. They are grouped in the same superfamily as the scallops, but like the true oysters (family Ostreidae) they cement themselves to rocks, rather than attaching themselves by a byssus. Their key characteristic is that the two parts of their shells are hinged together with a ball and socket type of hinge, rather than a toothed hinge as is more common in other bivalves. Spondylus have multiple eyes around the edges of the shell, and they have a relatively well developed nervous system. Their nervous ganglia are concentrated in the visceral region, with recognizable optic lobes, connected to the eyes. Spondylus princeps are also found off the coast of Ecuador, and have been important to Andean peoples since pre-Columbian times, serving as offerings to the Pachamama as well as some kind of currency. In fact much like in Europe the Spondylus shells also reached far and wide as pre-Hispanic Ecuadorian peoples traded them with peoples as far north as present-day Mexico and as far south as the central Andes. The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped animals and the sea and often depicted Spondylus shells in their art.
Paua Abalone are cultured today for both pearls and mother-of-pearl but is largely a by-product of the seafood industry. Paua abalone is also known as Rainbow Abalone. It is most commonly found along the shores of New Zealand and in rare occasions, as far north as the Philippines. The outside of the shell is rough and dull; and attracts various species of seaweed and tube-building worms, which accumulate on the outside of the shell. The inside is a beautiful blend of colors. The animal that lives inside this shell is black and it is the foot of the animal that is edible and marketed in many countries. The word Paua is actually Maori (a tribe in New Zealand) for Abalone. Abalone shells belong to the family Haliotidae and are nicknamed sea ears for their oval shape. Because of the beauty of this shell and its relative thinness, paua shell tends to be more expensive. Paua can be differentiated from other abalone species by its bright, deep, irridesint colors that are most desirable in dark blues and purples and greens. Violets and yellows are considered less desirable. The shell is most commonly used in jewelry as well as inlays in such items as furniture and guitars.
Black Lip Oyster
Pteria Penguin is a genus of winged oyster closely related to Pinctata that also produces commercial quantities of pearls. Winged oysters are edible but unpalatable, and seldom produce precious pearls. It is a tropical species, with pearly interiors and long, wing-like projections of the hinge, have fragile shells. Winged oysters are found naturally on rocks and coral near channels and capes where the current runs fast and they attach themselves to the ocean bottom and to wharf pilings. Ptaria Penguin is a major source of Mabe Pearl production. Mabe pearls have a characteristic semispherical shape and unique rainbow-like luster and are a cultured half pearl, formed by inserting a half-sphere between the mantle and the shell. Since Mabe pearl oysters do not clump and their population is small, it is difficult to obtain a lot of mother oysters. Pearl culturing using natural oysters was conducted on a small scale. The first established artificial breeding techniques for the Mabe pearl oysters were established in 1970. The Mabe pearl oyster, Pteria Penguin that grows up to 20-30 cm in diameter is also called “the penguin wing oyster” from its shape like a wing. They commonly display a silver color under the oyster muscle with a rich mauve, gold banding towards the black/brown outer-lip. All semispherical “half-pearls” used to be called “Mabe”, however, only pearls come from the Pteria penguin are called “Mabe pearls” now. The Mabe oyster produces a brilliant nacre with a rainbow-like spectrum of hues, and the Mabe pearls produced from this nacre, which sizes are 12-20mm in diameter, possess a uniquely penetrating brilliance, with hues ranging from light pink through deep rose-red to a "rainbow" pink. Sometimes the pearls have gold-pink or other hues of high rarity. This rich variety of lustrous hues combines with nacreous layers of a rarely seen fineness of texture to give the Mabe pearl its perennial appeal and make it our original, popular product. Habitat It can be found from the Red Sea in the east to the western tropical Pacific and from the southern islands of Japan in the north to the southern waters of Australia. Mabe pearl producing countries are Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.
Gold Lip Oyster
Sometimes called White or Silver Lipped Oyster Pinctada is a genus of pearl oysters. These are saltwater clams, marine bivalve mollusks of the genus Pinctada in the family Pteriidae. They have a strong inner shell layer composed of nacre, also known as mother of pearl. All species within the genus Pinctada share the physiological properties that can lead to the production of large pearls of commercial value, and therefore attempts have been made to harvest pearls commercially from many different Pinctada species. This is the largest oyster species that grows up to 20-30cm in diameter. It occurs naturally only in the warm tropical South Pacific waters of the Arafura Sea (off Northern Australia), Eastern and Northern Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar and Northern Thailand and to the east to Fiji and Tahiti. Pinctada Maxima can be broadly divided into two types based on the color of the shell’s inside, the silver-lipped and the gold-lipped. They are the source of larger White South Sea pearls more than 10 mm in diameter, with some as large as 16-17mm with a weight of 7grams. Australia and Indonesia are the main pearl producers, accounting for over 90% of production between them. White South Sea pearls are also produced in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Amami-Oshima Islands of Japan. White South Sea pearls have thick nacre and many gorgeous hues like silver white, pink and gold.