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Using old Ivory


#1

Hi All,

I recently inherited a large old broken African tribal ivory
bracelet which was brought into this country in the 1920’s. It has a
wonderful patina, and I have thought about cutting it up and adding
it to my jewelry, but I don’t want to run into troubles with the law.
Has anybody sold jewelry with old Ivory in them? Do I need to get
some sort of certificate? Any and all feedback is welcome. Thanks,

Eric


#2

I recently read an article that said you can’t sell ivory unless it
is 100 years old.

Can you prove age for your piece? Also, IMHO, it seems a shame to
cut up a nice piece.

Elaine Luther
Chicago area, Illinois, USA
Certified PMC Instructor
@E_Luther


#3

Has anybody sold jewelry with old Ivory in them? Do I need to get
some sort of certificate? Eric,I am not sure about the laws of
ivory, I’ m sure you can use it in any jewelry you make…But don’t!
I used to make ivory bracelets and earrings from full tusk 20
something years ago. The stuff is a dream to work with and polishes
out beautifully…BUT when the news got out about the slaughtering
of elephants, a truly magnificent beast, I put up all my ivory and
still have it to this day. I will not sell it for it still promotes
the killings of consumers that want and wear it. Finally, in Asia the
demand is diminished to the point that former ivory carvers are
going to carving other materials, such as jade. Maybe one day no one
will want ivory in any form, and what’s left of the elephant , and
other ivory producing mammals will be free from the slaughter… I
won’t even use mastodon and other extinct materials, for it still
promotes a form of animal by product that may keep an interest going.

Thomas Blair


#4

Eric, I’m not sure about all the legalities of ivory. I’m pretty sure
that it is illegal to transport ivory into or out of the country,
regarless of age. My suggestion is to use fossil mastadon ivory. It’s
is completely legal to buy, sell, import, or export.

If you’re looking for some mastadon ivory, these people seem to be
pretty good http://www.ivoryworksltd.com Usual disclamors: no
relation, etc etc. These same guys also sometimes list their scrap
fossil ivory on ebay. Just search for the user name wdwrksltd You
can get half a pound of scraps for about $25.

As for what to do with the piece you inherited. Sell it to someone
who will appretiate it for the work of art that it is. Then use the
money to buy the raw mammoth ivory which you can use in your work
without having to worry about going to jail, or even worse, getting
one of your customers arrested.

Kevin
http://www.kevinard.com


#5

Hi All. For specific on what is or is not allowed
concerning Ivory I would direct you to the CITES (Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species) at http://www.cites.org/ .
When I lived in Africa through 1987 CITES allowed limited trade in
worked ivory art. A permit was required for its importation, but was
easily attainable. Recently, trade has been banned entirely, but I am
not sure how that affects imported pieces prior to that ruling. A
friend of mine is an Alaskan Indian and can legitimately work walrus
ivory even now. I don’t believe work with fossilized ivory has much
restriction.

On another note. I cannot agree with a blanket statement I read
recently that we should not use any animal by-products in the
creation of jewelry. What about bone. How about the eye-teeth
(whistlers) of Elk, true ivory, traditionally prized by successful
hunters. Please believe that I in no way condone the slaughter of
animals just to harvest their by-products. But out of respect to an
animal that has been legitimately taken I believe it is appropriate
and in fact a responsibility to make the greatest use of that animal
possible. Hank


#6
My suggestion is to use fossil mastadon ivory. 

Fossil mastodon ivory is a good suggestion but fossil walrus ivory
can be better, for this reason: Mastodon ivory is both more brittle
and more subject to expanding and contracting with weather changes
than fossil walrus ivory, at least in my experience. One source for
both fossil walrus and mastodon ivory is
http://www.ivoryjacks.com/index.html. The website doesn’t mention
the raw material but I know they have it (I’ve bought from them in
Tucson); you’ll probably have to email or call them about it.

Beth


#7

I was in a highend dept. store (takashimaya) in manhattan the other
day, and in the tableware section they had, for sale (as placemats?),
sheets, a full 10"x10", of buffalo horn, sheets!, about .060 thick,
do you think that could actually be a cross section. Do they kill
buffalo for them, if that was a cross section, the animal must have
been close to 2 tons


#8
   sheets, a full 10"x10", of buffalo horn, sheets!, about .060
thick, do you think that could actually be a cross section. 

Just a guess, but I’d think this is processed much like plywood
layers from a log, meaning it’s more like “peeled” from around the
horn, and then flattened. Perhaps also made from a number of pieces
and then laminated. Horn, unlike bone or ivory, is mostly protein,
like fingernails. It can be formed by heat and pressure. If buffalo
(these are probably water buffalo) is anything like cow horn,
they’re hollow inside, so it can’t be just a cross section.

Do they kill  buffalo for them, 

I’d rather expect the buffalo isn’t around any more to complain…
Probably the horn is a byproduct of food use.

if that was a cross section, the animal must have  been close to 2
tons 

Water buffalo can be pretty big, but I kinda don’t think it’s that
big…


#9
 But out of respect to an animal that has been legitimately taken I
believe it is appropriate and in fact a responsibility to make the
greatest use of that animal possible. 

Alas, those who zealously pursue the word of the law to its literal
extremities sometimes overdo it . I would never think of killing
an elephant for its ivory, for example(or killing one for any
reason)…but if I found a dead elephant in my garden, would I be
prosecuted to the full extent of the law if I requested the ivory
for my own use instead of having it destroyed with the rest of the
carcass? Dee


#10

Hi Eric, there’s no law against owning ivory or making jewelry with
it. It’s only illegal to import it, and it’s only been illegal to
import it since 1989. Anything older than that may fall into an
ethical gray area, but legally it’s okay. Even if you were caught
actually importing a small amount of ivory, most likely it would
only be seized and no one would be arrested. I think the only place a
certificate would be needed is again if you were attempting to import
antique ivory.

Laura
http://www.dreamsnotlost.com


#11

In theory, one can remove the horn from a bovine without killing it
(it’s called polling), but in practice, that type of horn is a
byproduct of the slaughterhouse. Bovine horn is removed from the
horn core, and split. It’s then flattened using heat and moisture.
A normal cow horn will produce a sheet that’s nearly 8"x10" with a
careful cut, a larger one can make a pretty big sheet.

 Ron Charlotte -- Gainesville, FL
 @Ron_Charlotte1 OR afn03234@afn.org

#12

I was fortunate to buy a bunch of used ivory blanks that were
removed from piano keys. They are of a consistant thichness and
make excellent dividers between stones in a mosais build up. Lee


#13

G’day; Sounds OK until you think about it. Certain Polynesian people
had a habit of showing utter contempt for the chief of a defeated
tribe by killing him, cooking him in an earth oven and feasting on
the remains. Certain of his bones were used to make not ornaments
or weapons but musical instruments which were blown and made a
wailing sound. The object of the exercise was not just to have a good
meal, but to reduce the defeated foe to excrement. Oh dear these
damned pros and cons…

 But out of respect to an animal that has been legitimately taken I
believe it is appropriate and in fact a responsibility to make the
greatest use of that animal possible. 

Cheers for now, John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua, Nelson NZ


#14

Being licensed by the Federal Fish and Wildlife of the United states
to rehabilitate , I known that it is illegal to possess any part of
a protected animal and that necessary permits are required to have
even a feather. whether you found a dead elephant in your garden or
killed one each part of that animal is protected dead or alive. Lisa


#15
 Certain Polynesian people had a habit of showing utter contempt
for the chief of a defeated tribe by killing him, cooking him in
an earth oven and feasting on the remains. 

actually, more head hunting tribes ate defeated competitors they
respected to absorb the good characteristics; brains being the most
coveted tidbits. most tribes were very set in their rituals, which
usually avoided much interaction with inferior beings; ‘contempt’,
to isolated subsistent cultures, was not a strong concept.

ive


#16

Would the person who bought the piano keys let me know where I might
find a set? I have my great grandmother’s piano that was "restored"
and now has plastic keys. (No, I wasn’t the one who had that done.)
I’d love to have ivory keys put back on.

Elaine Luther
Chicago area, Illinois, USA
Certified PMC Instructor
@E_Luther


#17

Peter, I have water buffalo horn from 30 years ago, they are 4"-5"
in length, 1" dia. Mine are solid inside. Like black coral cut
crosswise, cut lengthwise, they have a tan line down the center, a
wavey pattern the whole length of the horn, kind of a motteled black
brown coloring. Without knowing the color of the “horn”, I think you
made a good guess as to that it might be cowhorn processed like
plywood. Richard in Denver


#18

There is a new element in the ivory trade. It was approved late
last month that the stockpiles of confiscated, natural demise, and
herd limiting kills be auctioned for the “benefit of the management
parks”. There was a huge furor over this and probable outcome in
increased poaching, possibly preemtive poaching for this new material
on the market. Know your sources people.

Norman