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Mammoth Ivory - Undying Beauty

Jan 25, 2008
Woolly Mammoths were present during the last Ice age but perished due to the changing environments, when the climate became warmer. The exceptionally long tusks that reached 16 feet and there have been many instances of artifacts and figurines sculpted out of mammoth ivory. Mammoth ivory is still available in Siberia and arctic regions and there are expert sculptures, who carve intricate details in tusks- netsuke, figurines, whole tusks and inlay work in other mediums. The ban on elephant ivory gave impetus to higher demand of mammoth ivory. Differentiating between elephant ivory and mammoth ivory is difficult but not impossible. Polishing and finishing on the ivory adds to the beautiful glow on the object.

Woolly Mammoths were present during the last Ice age but perished due to the changing environments, when the climate became warmer. With huge tusks and woolly hair on the body to protect them from the ice cold atmosphere, they were probably unable to adapt themselves to the warm climate, post Ice Age.

The exceptionally long tusks that reached 16 feet and there have been many instances of artifacts and figurines sculpted out of mammoth ivory. It has been carved since the early times and beautiful pieces of mammoth sculpture can be seen in different museums all over the world. The fossilized remains of the woolly mammoth are used and tusks are the most prized possessions, which are sold at extremely high prices due to the limited supply available in the world.

Mammoth ivory is still available in Siberia and arctic regions and there are expert sculptures, who carve intricate details in tusks- netsuke, figurines, whole tusks and inlay work in other mediums. Some of the inlay work can be seen in wood, brass and other materials to make beautiful, stunning objects d'art. Some artists use it to create beautiful beads, pendants and necklaces while sculptors use this medium to create decorative items and beautiful netsuke.

The ban on elephant ivory gave impetus to higher demand of mammoth ivory. As the animal Woolly Mammoth is extinct today but lived 10,000 to 40,000 years ago, it is legal all over the world. You might find it a little expensive but it's definitely not unaffordable. The price of the objects depends upon its limited availability, difficulty in procurement and the carving done on the figurine. As it is eco friendly, fossil remains the demand for uniqueness and beauty has saved the ivory carvers from losing out on livelihood and expertise.

Differentiating between elephant ivory and mammoth ivory is difficult but not impossible. As mammoth ivory has deposits of iron phosphate, it appears to glow as purplish under UV (ultra violet) light while under a powerful microscope, a specialist can make out the difference in the angles of the cross section of both the ivories.

It has become a sought after commodity in the world of valuable sculptures and carvings. The flexibility of the material has been utilized in form of jewelry, sculptures, tusk carvings, inlay in wood and making exotic netsuke. It is able to retain the luster while the sculptor brings out the rich, creamy white color from the raw brown tusk. Polishing and finishing on the ivory adds to the beautiful glow on the object.
About the Author
Anita Satin Choudhary writes for Ivory and Art Gallery. Browse the gallery for unique collection of artifacts ranging from mammoth ivory to Ivory netsuke.
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