Dear friends, New ivory is illegal and here’s why: to get ivory, you
have to kill an elephant. There is no other way to get it. The
ivory is the only part of the elephant that is taken. Poachers shoot
elephants, often with AK-47s, then hack out the ivory tusks, and
leave the carcasses to rot. I have seen elephants like this in Kenya
and it’s an awful sight.
I don’t think there is a way to feel better about using ivory.
Although I don’t think we can apply our own, 21st century morality to
practices from the past, we cannot justify using that old ivory
simply because people had different ideas about ivory in the past.
When I was working at JC-K, as far back as the early 1970s, before it
became illegal to import ivory, I refused to show jewelry that used
ivory because I knew it was immoral to use it. You don’t have to
wait for a law when you know something is wrong. I tried to educate
one particular jeweler at that time who used ivory extensively. Her
designs were wonderful but I exercised my own right not to use them
in the magazine.
There are many other materials to use in the jewelry world. Why
encourage anyone to wear ivory?