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.