Abalone is a single-shelled mollusc or marine snail which feeds on algae while suctioned to reef or rock by its muscular body.The outer shell of the abalone has a low and open spiral structure which protects its body. It is dull in colour and rough in texture, and is formed in a convex shape.
In contrast, the smooth inner shell is composed of nacre or mother-of-pearl which displays an iridescent mix of colours, ranging from deep cobalt blue and peacock green, to purples, creams and pinks.
Abalone can also produce pearls, which are considered by many to be the most beautiful and rarest in the world. In addition to being adored for their stunning inner shells and pearls, the flesh of the abalone is considered to be a culinary delicacy in many countries, consumed raw or cooked in a variety of dishes.
The reverse of the coin features a sculpted representation of an abalone shell with a polished fragment of real abalone shell as the centrepiece, against a rippled pattern representing the ocean floor. The inscription AUSTRALIAN ABALONE SHELL and The Perth Mint’s ‘P’ mintmark also appear in the design