Her Majesty — Ivory

One of the first materials of man is bone. Articles made of ivory are found in the Stone Age. Not only fangs, but also the bones of sperm whales, elephants, sharks, primitive people used as necklaces and amulets. After a while, baby teeth of elephants began to be used for knives and decorating household items.

Despite the fact that the ivory turns yellow over time, it remains a valuable material due to the simplicity of processing, durability, density and a beautiful cream color. For products from Ivory: handle knives, keyboard pianoforte and other products have long been used more cheap material — celluloid.



Materials that have a similar appearance with the bone of an elephant are called the ivory, these can be tusks of elephants, mammoths, walruses, sperm whales, and wild boar teeth. And yet ivory is the three meter long elephant tusks. The best of them are tusks of homogeneous pale yellow and white, with a slight greenish tinge, which African elephants possess, which can be found in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya. Less valuable material are the tusks of Asian, Indian, Thai and Lankan elephants. The most qualitative material is a bone that has a fine texture and shine, lower in class dull bones.

Bone mammoths are, tusks of mammoths dwelling in North America, Europe and Asia from 100,000 to 4,000 years ago, the length of which is 2 m or more. A large number of them are found in Siberia, they practically do not differ from the tusks of modern elephants. Every year in different parts of Siberia 25-35 tons of bone are mined, they are white, from Alaska and Great Britain they are light or dark brown. The texture is uniform with a pattern. In the countries of the Pacific region, the teeth of cetaceans, up to 10 m long, are widely used, which are called the bone of sperm whales. From it are made necklaces, statuettes and Netsuke with ornament.

The bone has a porcelain luster, a homogeneous texture with thin strips and a color from white to light brown. From the walrus tusks, long up to 75 cm, having a light yellow to cream color, a silky shine and a fibrous structure, they made decorative figures and decorated weapons. Now they are rare, due to their small number. The same applies to the teeth of a male toothed whale, up to three meters long and hollow inside. Teeth of a hippopotamus, which have a finer structure than the elephant’s tusks.

And the seeds of the Bone South American palm tree, having a white color and called «plant ivory», first began to be used in the beginning of the XIX century in Europe. The work of natural ivory can be determined from the intersecting curved lines located on the lateral section of the tusk. Products from animal bones are rare. However, it has a different structure and Havers channels are visible on the cut. In an effort to obtain cheap ivory, xylitol or celluloid, obtained in England in 1865, was widely used. This material is used for making billiard balls, the chips are well removed from it, it burns well, and if it is rubbed against the wool, the product will get the smell of camphor. To summarize, despite the strictest restriction in the extraction of ivory, poachers continue to destroy elephants to obtain this type of raw material and, buying ivory chess or earrings from bone, it is worth considering whether the product that is worth living will bring pleasure.