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Do You Know Which Ivory Is Legal?

Apr 22, 2008
Mammoth ivory is an exquisitely beautiful material medium reaching far back into our artistically creative humanistic past, and still touches us today due to the well preserved mammoths being excavated throughout Alaska and Siberia, and the traditional ivory carving artists. For the larger ivory findings, those pieces will be individually sold just as all the other variations of tusks. Whale ivory is another popular ivory used for many kinds of carvings and especially in maritime scrimshaw carvings. Just as mammoth ivory, whale ivory is one of the most perfect materials to carve small and elegantly detailed items out of.

If your ivory is damaged by dark patches, take it to a professional who is knowledgeable in the proper polishing methods in a delicate material like ivory.

Mammoth ivory is an exquisitely beautiful material medium reaching far back into our artistically creative humanistic past, and still touches us today due to the well preserved mammoths being excavated throughout Alaska and Siberia, and the traditional ivory carving artists. Most all of these highly talented artists have been uniquely trained by highly skilled and experienced senior artists.

When a mammoth is being excavated for the usage of its tusks ivory carvings, the tusks are rarely completely full, but instead may come in a few large sized pieces to many smaller shaped parts. Overall, there are an average amount of a ton to two tons of mammoth ivory is dug up, processed and distributed each year.

From the largest to the very smallest, there is no wastage of the salvaged ivory. Even the smallest of pieces can be used for decoration purposes of knife handles, jewelry, various types of artworks, and each slightly larger size discovered may be made into Netsuke designs, piano keys, scrimshaws, gun handles and so forth. For the larger ivory findings, those pieces will be individually sold just as all the other variations of tusks. It is in the larger pieces discovered, and that then they will be carved into very thin sheets for the sales to those with the artistic talents of water color painting sheets.

Whale ivory is another popular ivory used for many kinds of carvings and especially in maritime scrimshaw carvings.

Whale tooth carving has also been one of the original materials for traditional and contemporary Japanese Netsuke, due to its beauty and hardness. Just as mammoth ivory, whale ivory is one of the most perfect materials to carve small and elegantly detailed items out of.

If you are the proud owner of any type of ivory, whether it is whale, mammoth, or elephant, proper care is very important for this delicate material. If a piece becomes slightly yellowed from darkness, wipe it down with a soft cloth that has been dipped in water diluted lemon juice. It is best to use half and half of each, and rub very gently to bring back the whiteness. If the ivory is combined with any kind of metal, do not get the metal wet with the lemon juice in any way. If your ivory is damaged by dark patches, take it to a professional who is knowledgeable in the proper polishing methods in a delicate material like ivory.
About the Author
Anita Satin Choudhary writes for Ivory and Art Gallery. Browse the gallery for unique collection of artifacts ranging from Porcelain and Silver Judaica to Mammoth Ivory Figurines.
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