Abalone shells are often used for smudging ceremonies by the Native Americans in the United States and Canada.
The African green abalone shells shown above are edged and cleaned. They have been cleaned and polished on the inside; the outside is clean, but still rough. The sizes have been obtained by measuring the longest side of the shell with a flat ruler.
This particular species of abalone was placed under CITES III trade controls by South Africa in May 2007. In June 2010, the South African government removed the CITES status on this shell. No CITES permits are required any longer.
The larger shells (5.5" and larger) are generally from wild stock found in the ocean. These shells were harvested legally by commercial canning operations in South Africa. Because of over harvesting and rampant poaching, the wild stocks are under threat. The smaller shells are almost all from commercial aquaculture operations and are a renewable resource that is not under any threat.
A USFWS export permit is required for all shipments outside the USA.