ABALONE, the Spanish name used in California for various
species of the shell-fish of the Haliotidae family, with a
richly coloured shell yielding mother-of-pearl. This sort
of Haliotis is also commonly called ``ear-shell,'' and in
Guernsey ``ormer'' (Fr. ormier, for oreille de mer).
The abalone shell is found especially at Santa Barbara and
other places on the southern Californian coast, and when
polished makes a beautiful ornament. The mollusc itself is
often eaten, and dried for consumption in China and Japan.
Source: An unnamed encyclopedia from a project that puts out-of-copyright texts into the public domain.
This is from a *very* old source, and reflects the thinking of the turn of the last century.