An Agenda, Alan Hinton and Abalone

Things I’d like to do with my shell collection:

  • Clean off the dust and bring out the shell patinas. Task Name: Increase Pretty.
  • Identify the best way to clean them by identifying the shell type and checking against the shell-cleaning repository (the internet). Task Name: Classification
  • Find a new acid-free, dust-free storage place that uses space effeciently. Task Name: Increase Pretty Through Storage

Agenda complete! Onward to Task Classification.


This book has been on my bookshelf for as long as I can remember. It was a gift from my grandmother

Task Classification will be assisted by Hinton’s Guide to Australian Shells. Thanks Hinton! I trust you and your pipe.

Today’s shell is Haliotidae. Common name Abalone. My grandmother used to call them Maiden’s ears. Sometimes also referred to as Muttonfish. Here’s a book about Aboriginal consumption of muttonfish on the South Coast of NSW.  Most of the specimens in my collection appear to be Haliotis ruber and Haliotis crebrisculpta.

Now for a sample of cleaning methods used by people on the internet to clean abalone shells:

I live in a block of flats so sanders, spraying acid and 100% bleach about the place isn’t going to work. I think I’ll take the gently gently approach and try a mixture of lemon juice or diluted bleach in the bath-tub. A few of the shells have holes in them so they will be the hapless test subjects.


2 Responses to An Agenda, Alan Hinton and Abalone

  1. Katie says:

    This is completely awesome! There’s even a photo of you holding the shell, which is utterly fantastic. I thank you for this.

    And look how beautiful the shells are now, with their gorgeous pearly sheen.

    Mr Hinton’s pipe is quite amazing and provides one with a sense of trust in his abilities when it comes to identifing shells.

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