I don’t know if “fossil” ivory has the same health hazards as
the carbonate materials (shells and coral), though it may well
have. However, you must be careful not to get it wet, because
it will crack. I cut a piece on a diamond lapidary blade (using
water as coolant) and although it did not appear until my
carving was complete, the drying process yielded several cracks.
Furthermore, these cracks absorbed dark color from the abrasive
I used (tripoli and rouge) . Piece was ruined. I would use
white compounds (it is very easy to polish). The material is
very soft…I believe it is really “permafrosted” rather than
fossilized (as we usually think of this term when it comes to
It has beautiful grain patterns. Just make sure to start out
with non-cracked pieces.