Jewelry that is made from the tusk of an elephant is called ivory jewelry. Importance of ivory jewelry can be guessed from the fact that in Gujarat, the bride receives an ivory bangle from her family just before marriage as jewellery. During marriage ceremony wearing of ivory bangles is must for bride in some regions of the country.
Ivory, being soft, can be shaped into desired designs and patterns. Ivory jewelry is not only popular in India, but also in the entire world.
Thousands of elephants die each year so that their tusks can be carved into religious objects. Can the slaughter be stopped?
Endangered Asian Elephants
Asian elephants are even more endangered than African elephants — but the threat isn't poaching so much as human encroachment. The Asian species is smaller than the African and none of the females and only some of the males have tusks. Asian elephants taken from the wild are not killed, but domesticated for zoos, safari tourism, or timber hauling. There are only about 30,000 remaining wild Asian elephants, while 15,000 live in captivity.
Substitutes for Ivory
Vegetable or tagua nut is a product made from the very hard white endosperm of the seeds of certain palm trees. Vegetable ivory is named for its resemblance to elephant ivory.
Tagua nuts grow on palm trees in the tropical rain forests of South America. After the seedpods ripen and fall to the ground, harvesters dry them. The seeds are separated from their shells, cut into different shapes, and then polished and dyed. In addition to being a humane ivory alternative, tagua products provide a sustainable income for indigenous people without harming trees.
The most common form of Magnesite is white, microcrystalline, porous masses that are dull in luster, and have the appearance of unglazed porcelain. So can be used for making jewellery.
One good substitute for Ivory is Boars tusk. Some of the large Boars grow very large tusks which can be carved and polished. Same way Pigs tusk is also used.
Think you have a genuine IVORY? Here are some simple tips to help you identify true ivory versus bone and plastic:
• Get or use a jeweler’s loop (or a good magnifying lens) and study the item carefully. You will be looking for little streaks or pores known as "Haversian System" which, if the signs are all there, indicates that it is bone, not ivory.
• Bone and Ivory weigh more than a synthetic material such as celluloid which is oftentimes confused as ivory. "Knock" on the item and listen carefully... bone and ivory will sound less hollow than plastic or celluloid. Plastic has a different sound when it's tapped versus bone and ivory.
• True ivory will yellow naturally with age. The darker the color, the older the ivory is. However, be careful when looking to buy an item that's been identified as "antique ivory" as there are people out there who will try to take ivory and darken it using tea or other means to make it appear older than what it really is. There is an easy way to tell if it's been artificially aged: Take some saliva on your fingertip and rub the ivory. If color comes off on your finger or the area you cleaned is lighter than the rest of the item then it's been colored to fake its age. This will only work with saliva.
• Another surefire way to tell between bone and plastic versus ivory is to take a needle and burn it with a lighter until its red hot. Then take the needle and touch the ivory in a non-conspicuous spot. True ivory cannot be burned but if its bone or plastic a burn mark will be left.
CAD Instructor, SDI