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.
From hand crated Chinese dragons and zodiac animals to the 18 Lohans, Three Star Gods and the Foo dogs, Feng Shui symbolism is deeply rooted in the objects that artists carve in mammoth ivory. And Feng Shui is about balance and Chi energy movements, which flow through the body and all over the Universe. Harmony and positive flow of energy in your immediate environment enhances your well-being and positivity. Today people are accepting the age-old traditions and like to have beautifully carved sculptures of the different symbols of Feng Shui dotting the offices and home to bring in prosperity, peace and harmony.
The luster, purity of organic mammoth ivory cannot be seen in any other material and given the limited resources available, mammoth ivory, the only legal ivory in the world is getting more expensive by the day. With a host of high-quality mammoth tusk ivory artifacts and Feng Shui products being carved by the artists of high caliber, the demand has risen in the last few years. Most of the artists located in Hong Kong and China, Feng Shui are close to their beliefs. From delicate Three Star Gods to zodiac animals, the sculptures range from mammoth ivory netsuke to large scale full tusks carved with the Feng Shui symbolism. If you are looking for aesthetically pleasing carvings and sculptures in legal ivory, check out the range of unique handcrafted mammoth tusk ivory pieces at http://www.mammothivory.info
The demand for ivory never wavered and after the elephant ivory was banned, mammoth ivory came into prominence. Alaska has been the center for harvesting genuine mammoth ivory and carving various ivory artifacts for centuries. Along with mammoth tusks, the place is teeming with walrus and whale teeth and bones, sought after by artists’ and scrimshaw collectors. Huge mammoth tusks in pristine condition are bought at extremely high prices by traders and private collections.
The reason that mammoths’ carcass and tusks have survived intact is due to intense cold of the tundra climate and eons under the permafrost. And that is why it is limited resource because due to constant harvesting and excavations, only a few thousand carcasses of woolly mammoths remain today. From fossil hunters, sculptors, bead makers and scrimshaw artists always requiring high quality ivory, prices remain high. Though in US, Alaska has the highest density of mammoth tusks, any tusks found on private property is equally legal and can be sold by the owners. The demand for mammoth tusk ivory is not just as huge tusks but delicate figures, sculptures, jewelry and curios all over the world.
The main reason elephant ivory was banned was due to the slaughtering of elephants for their tusks but as wooly mammoths is already extinct; this ivory is completely legal and can be traded worldwide. However not all sculptors can work on mammoth tusk ivory but only specialized Chinese and Japanese artists with years of experience working on ivory can work on these delicate yet priceless carvings. Even if the tusk is broken when excavated, there is huge demand for it. Smaller pieces are used to carve statues, and even tiny pieces are used to make pieces of carved jewelry. Basically none of the excavated mammoth tusk goes waste, as even the small chips, pieces and fragments are used for inlay, knife handles and jewelry.
However, the most expensive are complete ivory tusks which are sold raw in the natural state or carved completely. As most of the tusks have been buried for ages under the tundra permafrost, it has absorbed minerals from the soil and many of the unearthed tusks have hues of colors ranging from green to brown to grey on the husk. The artists carve into the ivory bringing out layers of milky white ivory as they carve daily life, scenes and mythological figures. Check out a range of unique and completely legal mammoth ivory carvings at http://www.mammothivory.info
The most prevalent ivory was African ivory which was used extensively during the 1400s to 1900s in Europe and Asia. It was only after 1989 that mammoth ivory completely replaced the demand for elephant ivory. Some of the key aspects of African tusk ivory are that it is not white but creamy in color and is amazing to work with. In most cases, it was procured fresh and thus the gelatinous substance from the pores gave it high flexibility as compared to hard and drier mammoth tusk ivory.
Additionally the fine crosshatching and grain structure gave it flexibility to be cut from any angle yet maintain strength and resistance to splinting. The natural oils gave it a peculiar mellow shine and rich luster as in any ivory. It is advised that once a year, all ivory sculptures that you have should be rubbed with oil.
Most of the African tusks of ivory are over 10 feet in length and the weight can exceed 200 pounds. However, there are inherent pulp cavities in the upper regions of the tusk, which creates a natural hollow. This requires exceptional skill of the artist to shallow carve bringing our translucent appeal. Cutting the area for maximizing the use of ivory was a delicate task especially when the core is hollow.
Generally, the tusks are 8 inch in diameter with solid ends that taper while the middle areas are round, which is used for carving. Intricate sculptures and carvings were done such that the patterns conformed to the shape of the ivory tusk. Even today, mammoth tusk ivory intricate carvings are designed such that they are done on the middle part of the ivory tusk.
The master artists used the hollowed out portion of the tusk to carve cups and tankards. Sometimes, they were sliced to form thin sheets of ivory, coveted by artists to watercolor miniature portraits. Additionally, the artists painstakingly shaved off parts of the designed compositions to give it thinness which led to heightened translucence.
Painting on ivory after sculpting it has been in vogue. The artists first etch and carve the desired patterns and then hand paint the details, giving it a realistic look. Exemplary art and artistry of the artists is visible in the delicate patterns and motifs that can be seen. The figures have hand-painted hair, tiny painted motifs and traditional patterns on the apparel. Ivory can be sculpted intricately adding manifold ways of translucency for better effects of the carving.
The mammoth ivory is sourced from the skeletal remains of the ancient wooly mammoths. The wooly mammoths perished during the last ice age are dated from 10,000 to 40,000 years ago. The precious tusks that are the only source of legal ivory worldwide grew to a length of 10 feet to 15 feet. But this was the permanent tusks which the mammoths grew after the age of 1 year. Archeologists have excavated baby mammoths with milk tusks which were shed at the age of one year.
Mammoth tusks consist of dentine and Cementum with a thin covering of enamel. The bonelike substance, Cementum supports the tooth while the dentine is found just below the tooth enamel and is the main tissue of the tusk. The length of the tusk is not the key consideration about the age of the mammoths, as they broke during fights and while digging. But all tusks have growth rings as they grow from the tusk base and add dentine over time into the hollow tusk. The dark bands in the growth rings were made during the winters and the lighter bands were added in the summer months. Today the mammoth tusks are a precious commodity and sought after legal ivory world over.
Not only has it fulfilled the demand for elephant ivory but most of the elephant conservationists hope that legal ivory will eventually en the illegal trade in elephant ivory and allow elephants a chance to flourish. While Arctic regions including Russia and Siberia have deposits of mammoth ivory which are being constantly exhausted, which makes mammoth ivory a limited resource today. This is the reason for the high price of complete mammoth ivory tusks.
After the mammoth tusks are excavated and preserved for transportation to mainland China for expert ivory sculptors to carve exquisite art and artifacts. Sculpted complete tusks command the highest prices while smaller carved pieces of mammoth tusks are comparatively affordable.
If you have been looking for a reputed and reliable source of raw mammoth tusks or unique design carved mammoth tusks, browse our large collection of exclusive sculptures. With years in the legal ivory industry, all ivory mammoth tusks are legal for sale, purchase and worldwide shipping.
Planning on collecting and investing in Japanese netsuke? It is a specialized art and collectors pay top dollars for rare and antique netsuke. Though you might like a netsuke but is it worth the price? How do you determine which is the right one for your collection? We understand that there are various aspects of buying authentic antique netsuke, but the top considerations include:
Artist’s skill levels: The price of the mammoth ivory netsuke depends upon the skill of the artist. From crude sculptures in ivory and wood to high quality detailed artwork, all levels of talent can be seen. Seasoned collectors can recognize the locale where the netsuke was produced and check for authentic signatures. However, it takes years to be able to judge and evaluate netsuke, but you can always consult a professional collector to assist you with the evaluations.
Authenticity: To know if the netsuke is authentic or not, is difficult as signatures can be forged easily. Only a netsuke expert is able to accurately match and identify the marks, signature, style and age of the netsuke along with the artistry strokes of different artists. Consult an expert if you intend investing in antique netsuke.
Condition and state of netsuke: Although antique netsuke will show wear but it should not be so much that the value of the netsuke tumbles. Original and used antique netsuke might be chipped, tiny repairs, cracked and restored but it should be negligible. The price will depend upon the condition and rarity of the item.
Rarity of the netsuke subject: If the subject is rare, such as Baku, (mythical animal that eats nightmares/bad dreams) or rare animals, it can be priced higher. As netsuke collectors specialize in particular subjects- mythical animals, legends and even daily activities, some netsuke are more in demand than others. Prices vary accordingly.
Additionally, there are specific areas and schools of netsuke production such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and more which have their own styles. Seasoned netsuke collectors are able to differentiate between the different styles. Some of the well-known netsuke artists are Kokusai, Toyomasa, Okatomo, Kaigyokusai and Tomotada that command top dollars for their carvings.
Only the most famous netsuke artist’s signature commands a high price. The key consideration in price is the rarity, originality, quality of hand carving and the artistic appeal of the netsuke. Generally high quality netsuke, both old and new range from few hundred dollars to few thousands of dollars, depending on these considerations.
Sourced from the isolated regions in Serbia and Arctic during the short summer months, fossil ivory hunters face cold icy winds and waters, looking for the uncovered tusks that poke out from the melting permafrost. Over 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, wooly mammoths roamed the earth but perished at the end of the last Ice age. Although it is rare to excavate a fossilized mammoth, the ivory tusks fetch exorbitant prices, all over the world.
Numerous male mammoth ivory tusks have been found to be over 14 feet in length and are longer than the female tusks that have been excavated. After the ban on elephant ivory, mammoth ivory tusks have been in global demand. The fossil ivory is harvested from the permafrost where it has been buried for eons and later segregated and categorized for sale.
Though the different grades of ivory are unearthed, not all of the ivory is suitable for sculptures and carvings. The top category A has the best ivory which includes complete tusks, high quality well-preserved ivory. The tusks length and weight might vary and it is not cut for artists. At the end of the spectrum is Bark ivory which does not have all layers of inner ivory, lacking the basic material for tusk carvings.
Most of the ivory has a bluish or brownish discoloration due to lying buried in mineral rich soil for thousands of years. Artists looking for ivory and sheets of ivory can source them from different dealers. The prices of ivory vary depending upon the color and size, so a large piece of tusk with milky white ivory would command a higher price than the small, brownish tinged ivory. Sculptors require solid ivory with no or little discoloration and these sculptures sell for a higher price range. Small pieces, broken tusks and cards of ivory are usually cheaper as raw material and are used for inlay, handles of decorative swords, knife and even pistols. It is used to craft beads, necklaces and jewelry. The artists and traders try their best to ensure no piece of fossil ivory is wasted as it is a limited and precious commodity today.
But artists that paint on ivory require wafer-thin sheets, cut from blocks of ivory. Depending upon the artist’s requirements, long, narrow sheets and circular discs cut as fine sheets are used to paint on ivory. Storage of ivory is another keys aspect of maintaining it. It needs optimum temperature and moisture else it starts to crack and turn brittle. See some of the best carvings and hand painted ivory at http://www.mammothivory.info