Red Abalone or Haliotis Refuscens is a very exclusive material that has a demand much greater than it's supply. The Red Abalone shell comes from just off the Northern California/Southern Oregon coast. It’s name is a bit deceiving, it isn’t red at all but gets its name from the exterior bark which has a very red or pink tint. Most shells are not large enough to yield realistic knife handles. This combined with their tendency to be full of holes created by boring sponges, makes for only about 2% of all abalone harvested worth cutting. Abalone has two areas that are of particular interest to knife makers. First, there is the lip section which has a bulls-eye type pattern where iridescent pools of color blend together in a random larger pattern. Second, the heart section has a tight pattern of different colors and reveals the illusion of depth on the surface. Neither is more expensive than the other; it’s only a matter of personal choice. A large pair of abalone will get as large 3" x 1" x 1/8" and if it has good quality will be quite costly. Other abalones include Blue-Green Paua fromNew Zealand, Awabi fromJapan, and Green Abalone fromMexicoandSouthern California. Most of these rarely get large enough to make a full exposed handle and are primarily used for inter-frames or inlays.