Sperm Whale Ivory
Whale Ivory is derived from the teeth found in the lower jaw of the sperm whale. These teeth range from three to ten inches in height. It was with this type of ivory that American Whale men created the first pieces of Scrimshaw. Whale ivory is usually mellow yellow in color and has a distinctive inner ring to its grain.
Ancient Mammoth Ivory
The Wooly Mammoth was a large Prehistoric creature which roamed the earth over 10,000 years ago. Resembling our modern elephant they had long shaggy coats and large curved tusks often exceeding ten feet in length. Now extinct, their remains are occasionally unearthed in the northern hemisphere with their long ivory tusks intact. Over the centuries, the ivory has taken on a variety of colors including tans and greys which gives each piece a unique quality.
African Elephant Ivory
Elephant ivory is derived from the tusk of the African Elephant. From 1976-1989 ivory was obtained from the elephants in National Parks which died of natural causes or were culled from the herds. Due to corruption in a small percentage of these parks, the U.S. put a ban on the importation of Elephant ivory in 1989. Currently we are able to work with ivory that was legally imported into the U.S. prior to the ban.
Antique Walrus Ivory
Antique Walrus ivory is derived from the tusks and teeth of the walrus which lived years ago on the frozen tundra of Alaska. The ivory lay buried in a variety of mineral deposits which slowly changed its color to a myriad of mochas, tans, browns, and blacks. Today it is unearthed by
Antique Piano Key Ivory
Prior to modern synthetics, piano keys were covered with elephant ivory cut to 1mm in thickness. This ivory is still useable when removed from the wooden keys. Once cleaned and buffed, this recycled ivory will show off a classic yellow patina which has developed over many years. We use piano key ivory in designs ranging from inlays on boxes to bookmarks.
Vegetable Ivory or Tagua Nut
Tagua nut is an ivory-like nut of a palm tree in South America. When sectioned, sanded and polished, its dense texture and mellow color resemble the fine qualities of ivory. Residents of Ecuador gather Tagua in the rain forest and it is later used in the manufacturing of buttons,
Sperm Whale Ivory - The Law:
The Sperm Whale is an endangered species protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act; importation of whale products for commercial purposes has been prohibited since 1973. Pre-act whale teeth can be sold intrastate as long as state law does not prohibit it. Scrimshaw artists and collectors acquire pre-act teeth from estate sales, auctions, and antique dealers.
Ancient Mammoth Ivory - The Law:
Commerce in this 10,000- 40,000 year old ivory is completely unrestricted.
Antique Walrus Ivory - The Law:
Raw walrus ivory predating the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act, tusks bearing the Alaska state walrus ivory registration tags, and post law walrus ivory that has been carved or scrimshawed by an Eskimo are legal to buy, posses, and sell. Commerce in the ancient or unearthed walrus ivory is unrestricted.
Elephant Ivory - The Law:
Elephant ivory has be regulated since 1976 and was allowed into the U.S. only from game reserves that followed the guidelines set forth by The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or CITES. Importing, buying, and selling African elephant ivory has not been allowed internationally since 1989. It is legal to own, buy, sell or ship "estate" ivory which was present legally in the United States before 1989.