These abalone shell buttons are made from Midas Abalone (Haliotis midae) in South Africa. The shells are a by-product of the food industry. This shell is also referred to as Midas Ear abalone or Perlemoen abalone.
The abalone shell buttons are about 1/16" in thickness. One of the advantages of the midas abalone is that the shells are thicker and result in less breakage than some other shell buttons, such as paua.
This particular species of abalone was recently 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.
These buttons are made from shells that are a by-product of the food industry.