The pattern on each abalone shell varies tremendously, with no two shells being exactly alike.  Therefore, every piece of jewelry will have its own unique characteristics depending on the individual shell and where on the shell it comes from.

Due to the variability of the material, there are three options for general pattern styles:

(Again, this are only examples and not exact representations)

 

Sheen               Waves               Mixed

 

All chains, clasps and ear hooks are sterling silver.

 

 

Full Moon The tides rise and fall through the pull of the moon.                   Necklace                           Earrings               $40 - $50                      $40 - $45 

 

Crescent Moon This can be worn as a waxing or waning crescent depending on which side is facing forward.If the light is on the right, the moon is growing bright.If the light is on the left rim, it is growing dim.                   Necklace                               Earrings                 $40 - $50                               $40 - $45 

 

Water Drop Of course the water has to be represented.  It is the home of the abalone, as well a life-giving element for the entire planet.                   Necklace                               Earrings                 $40 - $50                               $40 - $45

 

Limpet Another sea snail found in the intertidal zone, limpets slowly move around eating algae off the rocks.  They clamp down onto the rocks when threatened or  so they don't dry out when the tide goes out.                   Necklace                               Earrings                 $40 - $50                               $40 - $45 

 

Mussel Holding tight to the rocks, clusters of mussels pump water through their bodies to filter out food particles.  During high tide, they close up tight and make a waterproof seal.                    Necklace                               Earrings                   $40 - $50                               $40 - $45

 

Ochre Sea Star These are the most common starfish in the tide pool and can live for 20 years or more.  They feed on a variety of shellfish such as limpets, clams, barnacles, snails, and chiton, but their favorite food is mussels.  One ochre sea star will eat about 80 mussels in a year!                    Necklace                              Earrings                   $50 - $60                             $50 - $55 

 

Bat Sea Star These sea stars eat both algae and animals, even scavenging on the dead.  They have a friendly relationship with a type of polychaete worm that lives on the the underside of the bat sea stars, eating residual food.                    Necklace                              Earrings                   $50 - $60                             $50 - $55

 

Whale, Dolphin, and Mermaid Tail Humpback whales and gray whales are often seen along the coast of California, although there are a number of other whales that prefer to stay farther from the shore.  The Pacific-white sided dolphin can also been seen from Northern California beaches, sometimes in groups of hundreds!  And you know there are mermaids out there.                    Necklace                              Earrings                   $50 - $60                             $50 - $55 

 

Seal Harbor seals are a staple of the beaches and rock outcroppings above the water, and they can also be found hunting for fish in and around the bull kelp forests.  Their curiosity and playfulness will often lead them to follow divers around.                    Necklace                                Earrings                   $45 - $55                               $40 - $50

 

Otter Southern sea otters used to be a lot more plentiful along the coasts of California, but their numbers were drastically reduced during the fur trade of past two centuries.  They thrive in the kelp forests, wrapping themselves in the kelp to sleep and feeding on crabs, urchins, and a variety of shellfish including abalone.  Certain abalone shells that you can find on the beach bear the tell-tale hole of being bashed in by an otter hammering into it with a rock.                    Necklace                                Earrings                   $45 - $55                               $40 - $50

 

 

Custom Designs

 

Front and back: if left thick enough, the backside shows the red coloration of the red abalone species

 

Phases of the moon

 

This necklace was commissioned by a man as gift to his girlfriend.  It represents the Royal Arch in the Flatirons of Boulder, Colorado, which was the sight of their first date.

 

All sorts of custom designs are available, just let me know what you are thinking.

The possibilities are limitless!

 

Contact Rhett to place an order or make an inquiry

 

 

 The Endangered Kelp Forest

 

For thousands of years the bull kelp forests of Northern California have been the foundation of the nearshore coastal ecosytem, providing habitat for a myriad of life.  Sea stars, abalone, urchins, octopus, fish, crabs, sea otters, and sea lions are just a few species that call the kelp forests home.

 

Along the coasts of Northern California, like many other kelp forests and coral reefs around the world, that ecosystem is in grave peril.

 

In 2008, Vanessa noticed that the starfish were starting to die and disappear from the tidepools of her favorite beaches.  This was several years before starfish wasting diseasing was diagnosed in the area, but her love and awareness of the sea creatures caused her to notice that something was out of balance.

 

Not long after that, Rhett noticed something was changing in the kelp forests. At that time, Rhett would dive for abalone along the Mendocino Coast, where Highway One runs along steep cliffs that drop down to the rocky shore below.  It was a sacred place to Rhett and Vanessa, as it had to have been for many other Coast Miwok and Pomo peoples who had come thousands of years before us.

 

"It is difficult to describe what it's like to swim out to the kelp beds and drop down into the murky waters. It's another world.  Swimming down through the dense forest of twenty to thirty foot stalks of seaweed swaying with the swell, only being able to see three to five feet in front of you is one of the most magical places I have ever been," described Rhett. "As I neared the bottom and the forest gradually grew darker, the murky gray suddenly gave way to an eruption of flourescent oranges, pinks, purples and reds around the rocks that the kelp was rooted to. That's where the abalone lived and fed on the bits of kelp that fell to the bottom. Everything was so alive and vibrant."

 

Initially, he couldn't see that the kelp forests where changing and couldn't put into worlds what he felt was going on. "Something different was happening that didn't feel good, and I decided to stop going out.  I didn't have a conscious reason for it, I loved going diving, but I just couldn't bring myself to go out anymore and was experiencing a sadness around it," explained Rhett.

 

Soon after this realization, massive changes came.

 

A patch of warm water appeared in the Gulf of Alaska that migrated south to the Mendocino Coast.  Described as a "warm blob", it raised the temperature only a few degrees, but enough to throw off and weaken the bull kelp. At that same time, the starfish wasting disease had killed off large amounts of predatory sea stars that fed on small purple sea urchins, which happen to be voracious kelp eaters. A population explosion of these urchins started to decimate these ecosystems, combined with bull kelp already struggling from the rising sea temperatures and increasing ocean acidification. The once huge swaths of luscious, nutrient dense kelp forests started to disappear at a shockingly rapid rate.

 

This was especially true for Rhett's favorite place to go along the coast that a friend had initially introduced him to. His grandfather was able to could pick abalone right off the rocks without getting wet, where his father grew up going, and eventually took my friend diving there when he was old enough. There were several patches of kelp forest there, each one encompassing acres of twenty to thirty foot tall forests.

 

After hundreds, if not thousands of years, it was all gone within a few years time.

 

The last time Rhett, Vanessa, and their daughter Paloma took a walk on the beach over there, they found hundreds of abalone shells and shell fragments from the abalone that could no longer survive. While they have always been happy to find the beautiful shells, it was a very sad sight to see. They wanted to do something with the shells to honor them, and to share their beauty.  As a family, they prayed to the Spirits of the place and asked for guidance. Then they packed out 50lbs of washed-up abalone shell in a backpack, and a couple bags of trash that had washed up on the shore (which is common practice), and hiked out up the cliff.

 

When Rhett proposed to his then fiance Vanessa, he didn't have a ring. He took her to a bluff overlooking the ocean, overlooking the kelp forest and proposed with a heart-shaped pendant of abalone shell that he had carved from that beach. It was strung onto a necklace Rhett made from dogbane plant fibers with a clasp made from a manzanita seed bead.

 

Due to the instructions Rhett received from the Spirits of that place, he offers necklaces and earrings made from those abalone shells.  As a native Californian, working with the shells is a prayer for him and his connection to the Earth and the Ocean, as well as for the health of the Ocean, the kelp forests, and the abalone itself. His intentions is also to raise awareness about how a changing climate and an increasingly acidifying ocean is affecting oceanic ecosystems, particularly the kelp forests of Northern California.

 

10% of all sales of abalone jewelry is donated to the Noyo Center for Marine Science and the Help the Kelp Bull Kelp Recovery Program.  They have been working with the Waterman's Alliance, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Reef Check, and other organizations to establish the Sonoma-Mendocino Bull Kelp Recovery Plan.  They are working to turn the urchin barrens back into thriving kelp forests, but are limited in the impact they are trying to achieve by a lack of financial resources. They are currently seeking larger grants while accepting private donations, depending largely on volunteer divers to help with their work.

 

 

 

Further Reading about the plight of kelp forests around the world

 

 

Sea otters napping and eating abalone

 

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