Now let me tell you what I do not like about abalam. While it is good when you need to cut an inlay that is larger than any blank, I would rather pick out matching shell blanks and joint them because that allows me to choose where the joints will be.
I used abalam once in a fret board, very bad idea. After I sanded the radius into the fret board, I'd sanded down through some layers of shells that did not match well at all. The next problem was that because of the way that the abalam layers are glued up, there were pockets of solid epoxy, yuck.... This epoxy will not buff out to the same high shine that the shell will. Result was a very uneven look that was not good. I will never try this again. On that same guitar I made a 3/4" wide single piece abalam rosette. It was also not as good looking because after sanding, some of the shell layers were so thin that I could see the next layer of shell through the top layer. It just looked weird. There were also air pockets in the epoxy that needed to be filled. In the end I felt the guitar was not as good as it would have been if I'd used solid shell.
In today's age of computer cutting of inlays and the pockets that they go into, abalam makes for a great product. The operator can set all his programs to cut the maximum number of inlays from a sheet of abalam. But when he tells you these are selected matching sections, well I doubt it.
I have seen a site on the web where people selling abalam products are calling it solid shell. It is no more solid shell than plywood is solid wood.
The old saying holds, if it seems too good to be true...... You know the rest.