Even though the elephant ivory trade was completely banned in 1989 due to the drastic decline of the elephants all over the world, the demand for ivory art remained. Today the collectors and patrons of ivory have their fill of the artistic delights, with the prized antique mammoth tusk ivory.
The extinct wooly mammoths perished completely at the end of the ice age nearly 10,000- 12,000 years ago, but the rich fossils have yielded huge ivory tusks that are completely legal for sale, as the animal is extinct. The connotation of uber-affluence and classic aristocracy remains with ivory and refuses to end the allure of the limited, yet prized material.
Difference in elephant ivory and fossil ivory
The most unique aspect about mammoth ivory is that it is extremely similar in color and textures to elephant ivory yet their remains a major difference. Ivory is enamel and both the ivories carry an inherent pattern which is easily recognized, if you have details. Mammoth ivory has criss-cross V-shaped fine patterns while elephant ivory has more concentric circle patterns. This is visible to naked eye or you can use a hand-lends to notice the patterns which are visible on the bottom or on areas with no carving.
Though mammoth ivory has been used for centuries by the native Eskimos in the arctic regions, it came into focus worldwide as fossil ivory after the ban on elephant ivory. Though in the rarest of rare finds, male tusks have grown to 16 feet but most of the pieces and complete tusks, range in length from 5 ft to 8 ft, though longer tusks have been excavated. This leaves quite a lot of material to work with. Complete tusks have been intricately carved, becoming impressive art pieces commanding prices in several thousands of dollars. It is the rarity and limited supply of fossil ivory combined with exquisite carvings and sculpture that makes it so prized and unique.
Hues and colors of ivory
Another unique aspect of mammoth ivory that differentiates it from elephant ivory is the color scales found in fossil ivory. Due to being buried under the permafrost for eons, the organic enamel in the mammoth tusks absorbed the surrounding soil minerals, giving the milky white ivory hues of blues and browns. Apart from carved pieces of ivory, raw ivory is also available for sale, mounted on wooden stands or just as pieces.
If you are looking for an exquisite piece of one –off ivory carvings, there is a strong possibility that you might find something in your budget, from netsuke to full-tusks, select the piece that suits your requirement at http://www.mammothivory.info
Being a collector and ardent patron of ivory products, it is wonderful to see artists creating amazing sculptures and netsuke out of varied pieces of antique mammoth tusk ivory. It is like holding a real piece of history, blending in the artistic creativity with expertise, creating unique artifacts, to pass on as heirlooms.
Talking about the creativity, here is an amazing sculpture, crafted on a near-complete mammoth tusk, sourced directly from the tundra regions of Arctic. It is rare to come across tusks with such length due to the intense pressure exerted for centuries on the tusks, it leads to breaks and cracks. Additionally, the extreme harsh weather and cold, tends to dry out the moisture in the enamel, leaving it brittle. However, such finds truly become more valuable as it is rare, apart from the limited availability of mammoth ivory.
Looking at this particular carved tusk, the intricate detailing can take your breath away. Hours of painstaking workmanship is clearly visible. The tiny wild animals and floral background depicts the rich natural resources. The raw edges and exterior of the tusk has been left in the natural state, proving the tusk to be genuine, legal mammoth ivory.
The price of the carved tusk depends upon the total length and weight of the ivory apart from the delicate workmanship. As not all artists can do justice to mammoth ivory, only a specialized few artists can work on them. The skill of carving perfect figurines in such miniscule scale adds to the value of the carved tusk.