Q: What makes ivory so precious? It has no intrinsic value, but its cultural uses make ivory highly prized. In Africa, it has been a status symbol for millennia because it comes from elephants, a highly respected animal, and because it is fairly easy to carve into works of art.
In China, ivory is also considered a symbol of wealth and good luck. It is used for ornaments and jewelry.
The book of Ezekiel (27:4-6) mentions ivory in the context of the beauties of the city of Tyre: “Thy builders have perfected thy beauty.
Ivory is a useful material for carving reliefs or statuary, or cut up into thin sheets as inlays or veneer, and the ancient Egyptians used it for all of these purposes. It is a dense, fine grained material obtained from the teeth (tusks) of both elephants and hippopotamus.
The outer layer is made of hard enamel. The middle layer consists of a softer material called dentin. The inner layer is made of nerves and blood vessels that feed the tooth. It is the middle layer, the dentin, that is referred to as ivory.
The price currently paid for raw ivory in Asia, according to an investigation by the Wildlife Justice Commission, is currently between $597/kg and $689/kg, in U.S. dollars. Ivory sourced in Africa and sold in Asia has additional costs such as transportation, taxes and broker commissions.
Ivory is often used to make elaborate and expensive ornaments in China. In China and Hong Kong, ivory is seen as precious material and is used in ornaments and jewellery. It’s also sometimes used in traditional Chinese medicine. Some rich Chinese people think that owning ivory makes them look more successful.
Historically, it was used to produce ornaments, figurines, and small carvings, as well as items like jewelry, piano keys, and chess sets. Traditional medicine also views ivory as a healing element, using ivory powder to create medicine for a variety of illnesses.
Behind every piece of ivory—whether it be a full tusk or carved trinket—is a dead elephant. Poachers kill about 20,000 elephants every single year for their tusks, which are then traded illegally in the international market to eventually end up as ivory trinkets.
However, one lesser-known detail about Ahab is that he built a spectacular “ivory house” in Samaria: “Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he built, and all the cities that he built …” (1 Kings 22:39).
The Ivory Palace was the Maharaja’s palace. It was a massive building which dominated the sightseeing from many miles around.
A 41,500-year-old pendant carved from a piece of a woolly mammoth tusk could be the oldest known example of decorated jewellery in Eurasia made by humans, according to archaeologists. The pendant was found in the Stajnia Cave, a natural rock shelter in southern Poland.
The test consists of heating up the point of a needle until it’s red-hot and then pricking what you believe is your ivory carving. If the needle goes in, it’s plastic; if not, it’s probably ivory, or at least bone.
Chryselephantine sculptures are figures made of a mixture of ivory, usually for the flesh parts, and other materials, usually gilded, for the clothed parts, and were used for many of the most important cult statues in Ancient Greece and other cultures.
What is this? Ivory is harder than bone and hence it is not that easy to make a scratch on a piece of ivory as you can make on bone. Ivory, if broken can be glued together easily. But if it scatters to pieces, gluing back may not be possible.
A. The U.S. ivory ban does not limit the right to possess or pass down ivory to family members. No current state ivory ban restricts the possession or inheritance of ivory, rhino horn, or any of the wildlife products covered in the law.
Both bone and ivory are easily warped by heat and moisture and are decomposed by prolonged exposure to water. In archaeological sites, ossein is decomposed by hydrolysis, and the inorganic framework is disintegrated by acids.
Ivory is the hard, white material from the tusks and teeth of elephants, hippopotami, walruses, warthogs, sperm whales and narwhals, as well as now extinct mammoths and mastodons.
The State of California Department of Fish and Game is ACTIVELY raiding auction houses and antique shows, confiscating ivory. It is now illegal to sell or have the intent to sell ANY IVORY within the State of California or to sell it to any bidders within the State of California REGARDLESS OF THE AGE of the ivory.
If dusting alone is not enough, ivory and smooth non-porous bone can be cleaned with water and mild soap such as Ivory Snow or WA Paste ( CCI Notes 13/9 Anionic Detergent). Using a cotton swab (Q-tip), apply the soapy solution sparingly, just dampening the surface. Clean only a few square centimetres at any one time.
The exact demand from Asia is unknown but in recent years China has become the largest consumer of ivory products in the world (page 7).
Throughout history, the human desire for ivory—used in products from jewelry to piano keys to priceless religious art objects—has far outmatched efforts to stop the killing of African elephants for their tusks.
California, Nevada, Oregon, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey and Washington are the only US states that entirely prohibit the sale of ivory to deter the slaughter of elephants and other wildlife for their tusks and teeth.
The earliest known ivory carvings in China are from the Shang-Yin period of 1783-1123 b.c. From the second century b.c., however, China seemed to meet most of its requirements for ivory from other regions in Asia, undoubtedly some of this being of African origin.
What is Ivory? One of the most common shades of white used in interior decorating, the color ivory is warmer than pure bright white and features a yellow or beige tinge. ‘Ivory,’ ‘off-white,’ and ‘cream’ are often used interchangeably to describe the same soft hue.