Though mammoth ivory is usually associated with raw and carved tusks, there is a huge market for tiny lockets, earrings, necklaces and more crafted from the shards and waste ivory. This not only creative but helps to utilize each piece of limited and rare mammoth ivory. Most of the artists and jewelry makers buy smaller pieces of ivory and then carve it as needed. From delicate flowers to animals, geometrical designs, beads and more, the jewelry designers pair mammoth tusk ivory with a variety of semi-precious stones using gold and silver to give jewelry a definite form. High quality unblemished ivory is used to make bracelets and bangles. However, lower quality and small pieces of ivory suffice when it comes to bead making and other smaller pieces of jewelry.
Steps of working with ivory
First the ivory is cleaned, then using tiny tools, the artist starts with etching the design and then uses small chisels, files, fret saw and blades, jeweler drills, lathes, gravers and numerous other small sized tools, depending upon the size of the ivory piece. As mammoth ivory is hard and brittle due to the exposure to extreme cold for eons, it is needs to be stored in slightly humidified room, so that there are no further breaks or cracks. After the carving si completed, further embellishments are added to the gold or silver frame that holds the jewelry together. Tiny mammoth ivory beads are polished and accentuate the jewelry piece such as bracelets and necklaces.
Is colored ivory is genuine mammoth tusk ivory?
Not only is mammoth ivory jewelry rare but a unique piece as the resources are extremely limited. There are many pieces that come with highlights in grey, brown, green and even black but don’t fret. It is natural and genuine mammoth ivory which absorbed the minerals in the rich soil and that gives such highlights.
Most of the jewelry designers working with mammoth ivory are artists and skilled carvers which make it easy for them to carve bangles, necklaces, beads and even rings and earrings. But it is best to ensure that you only buy from a reputed designer or website as there are numerous companies that sell fake ivory products. Look for Schreger lines which are easily visible even on smaller pieces or ensure that the seller is reputed online. You may have to get it insured while in transit so that your jewelry arrives in pristine condition.