70s Marine Opal

70s marine opal70s ‘Marine Opal’
made in Australia 1970s

My collection rarely ventures into the 70s- but I had to make an exception for this: an owl letter holder and a teapot trivet both displaying ‘marine opal’ [aka polished abalone shell, aka Paua shell for New Zealand readers.]

The owl letter holder has a stand behind for the letters [not seen in the image] and terrible doggerel [thankfully not seen in the image]:

“Your letters here
Just stand in view
Reminding you of
Friends so true.”

That was the 70s people! Both pieces were ‘crafted’ by Crystal Craft- the trivet notes on the back that the ‘marine opal’ was “taken by divers from the Pacific.” No word on who wrote the terrible poem.

For all your 70s needs- this collection is for sale: $AUD55

11 thoughts on “70s Marine Opal

  1. I normally like abalone shells a lot (got some from my sister who is living in New Zealand, I also have one from California), but …
    The author of the poem is maybe rightfully forgotten. 🙂
    Most of the design of the 70s is, for whatever reason, quite “hm”. I like some of it (those orange and olive green things…) because I was young in those days but it is still terrible. I always thought the reason might be, that the people who did desig and architecture in those days had grown up during the war and the post-war time when it was hardly possible to develop a good taste in Europe or Japan, and there had been different priorities. But does that theory hold for Australia?

    • i think your theory might be right- 70s design was certainly a reaction to the exuberant 60s flower power. with 70s stuff i make sure it passes the nannus test- so terrible that it is strangely beautiful!

  2. I seem to be drawn to these relics of the 70’s as well. There was a fascinating array of things set in resin in that era. I am sure I read somewhere that there was a company that manufactured ‘do it yourself’ kits with liquid resin that you put in a mold and pressed dried flowers and such into the resin and then baked to harden . Mostly to make trivets and things like that. Perhaps that is why we see so many truly awful pieces floating around our thrift stores. As you say, they are so awful they are actually beautiful in their own way. I like the ones with shells the best though.

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