RAW WHOLE SHELLS
For those of you stone-age purists overcome with a compulsion to scratch-make your own materials, here's the "real" stuff. Basic methods are pretty well covered in Jim Patterson's book "Pearl Inlay". Wear a good mask, and more Paua to you!
MOTHER-OF-PEARL OYSTER (RAW-MOP): Fished in the Philippines, Indonesia,
and Australia, 5"-7" in width and around 1/2 lb. (.23 KG.) in weight,
sometimes with a yellow pearly layer underneath the white nacre. These
shells are flat and very productive for all types of inlay and jewelry
work, but usually not heavy enough for string nuts or pistol grips.
BLACK TAHITIAN PEARL OYSTER (RAW-BLACK): This "black lipped" or "smoked" pearl shell is very difficult to get in the larger sizes, so we feel fortunate to be able to offer these 5"-7", 1/2 lb. shells. Pearly white inside, with an under-layer of black nacre varying in thickness. Great for jewelry, limited uses for most inlay applications.