The larval shell of the marine gastropod Haliotis tuberculata was investigated by polarised light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, Raman microspectroscopy and infra-red spectroscopy. Trochophore and veliger larval sections were used for histological examination of the growing shell and each larval stage was related to the shell development and the appearance of calcified formations. We determined the stage of initial calcification by specific staining combined with polarised light examination. The shell of 30-h-old pre-veliger larvae was found to be mineralized, confirming that calcification occurred before larval torsion. Using both infra-red and Raman spectroscopy, we showed that CaCO3 deposition occurred at the pre-veliger stage and that the mineral phase initially deposited was essentially composed of aragonite.