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Ivory repair


#1

Orchid,

A customer is sending me an ivory cuff bracelet for repair (this is
pre-ban African ivory). It has a small crack running down from a
smallish chunk that is missing. There was another crack that was
dealt with earlier by someone else. Their solution was to place what
can only be described as a large, flat, “end cap” held in place by 2
rivets that go through the metal & ivory.

From what I’m reading, the cracks appear to be caused by dry
conditions & that placing the piece into something like a humidor
would cause the cracks to go back together. Is this about right? I
thought some epoxy type sealer would stop the problem. But again, I
found that to be a huge NO! Any thoughts or comments by any of you
who have dealt with this stuff would be appreciated. Since there
appears to be an awesome patina to this piece, I’m also concerned
about cleaning it before working on it…but again, I’m stumped there
as well as to what to use on it to clean it. Or at least clean around
the area I’ll be working on. Please feel free to contact me offline.

Walt Teats
American Goldworks/ Don Rand designs


#2

Bonjour,

I would suggest you to get in touch with a piano repairman. One who
repairs old valuables collection’ pianos, knowing that they have to
deal with ivory on the fingerboard. They have to try their best to
preserve most of the originals parts to keep the piano’ value…

To bleach ivory they use hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet rays.

I hope that you will find someone. Good luck.

Isabelle Duval
Belize.
Central America


#3
From what I'm reading, the cracks appear to be caused by dry
conditions & that placing the piece into something like a humidor
would cause the cracks to go back together. Is this about right? 

Ivory tends to dry out if it’s not handled. What it really loses are
the natural volatile oils. Humidity control can slow down the
deterioration, but it’s really hard to reverse. Ivory pieces from the
medieval era have been recovered with exactly the type of repair you
describe.

Cellulose Nitrate is one material that Arthur MacGregor has
mentioned as a stabilizing compound for skeletal material
conservation.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL


#4

Walt, Call me here in Texas, 210.260.0662 CLPH I travel Africa and
have some experience with Ivory and have a few pieces of carved lamps
from Kenya.

Stephen


#5

Bonjour Walt

I can’t give you the exact just now because it is in a
book at my studio and I am stuck at home with chinkenpox… Anyway,
in Uncle Oppi Big Grey Book (jewellery, concept and technique, Oppi
Untracht) there is a chapter on cleanning, resurrecting, working
with Ivory.

salut!
Juliette Arda
Artiste-Bijoutiere
Aix en Provence, France