Determining The Age Of Mammoth Ivory Tusks

As they say, old is gold, same holds true for mammoth tusks, which is the only legal ivory worldwide. With elephant being completely banned in US, the demand for mammoth ivory has risen. The increasing popularity and ease of purchase and sale, legal ivory is very similar to elephant ivory, sharing the same texture, color and luster, making it even more precious.

Age of mammoth ivory

But do you know how old is the mammoth tusk that you intend buying? Most of the experts discern the age of the tusk from the rings in the tusk. These are quite the same as tree rings but are more detailed than that. The mammoth tusks have a major line for each year and minor lines for the days and the weeks, so it pretty much well-defined. Ivory experts and scientists can tell the season when the specific mammoth died. The thickness of the ring depends upon the health of the mammoth and is studied to know which season was more favorable for growth.

Only legal ivory for trade

With enhanced global warming, the permafrost is melting faster, leading to mammoth ivory hunters bountiful harvesting of precious, antique ivory into the global market. And that is why mammoth tusk ivory is traded easily worldwide without restrictions because wooly mammoths are extinct. But it is essential to only buy from reputed dealers with years into the business as fakes abound. Take a look at some of the most unique collection of genuine ivory artifacts and sculptures at

Repairing Mammoth Ivory Products

Though mammoth ivory is solid, sometime over a period of time, it may require some repair. Or if you have heirlooms of elephant ivory and mammoth ivory, they may have tiny cracks which need to be filled. Sometimes, even missing parts are again carved and attached to make it look like new.

When repairs are made, the closest possible colored ivory is used, matching the texture, color and density so that the repair goes unnoticed. Only extremely skilled artists work on restorations as they have innate understanding of legal elephant and mammoth ivory, apart from carvings. To start with, an estimation si provided to the customer and if it approved, the process starts. The ivory pieces are cleaned, unless the customer doesn’t want it. The remnant of old layers of glue and other add-ons are removed. Usually a skilled art restorer or sculptor working on restoring ivory takes about 1 to 2 weeks because it is delicate work requiring articulated work.

Ivory has been a precious material for artwork since ages and continues to be an upmarket material for sculptures. After elephant ivory was banned in 1989, mammoth ivory has replaced it completely but there are innumerable people in possession of pre-1989 elephant ivory that require care but sometimes, repairs. That is why it is important to only select elephant and mammoth ivory restorers that have extensive experience in the industry. Regardless of the ivory sculpture’s age, restorers and artists can repair the art piece. But if you are looking for  new mammoth ivory artifacts to add to your collection, don’t forget to check out an impressive range of handcrafted mammoth tusk ivory at

More About Three Star Gods- Fuk, Luk and Sau

Though mammoth ivory is one of the most sought after material for affluent collections, it is impressive to see the level of artistry and creativity that the artists portray with the material. Look at this impressive and detailed sculpture of the Three Star Gods, symbolizing good fortune, longevity and prosperity. As per the Taoist traditions, the 3 gods are Fuk, Luk and Sau. Look at the wonderful carvings, the intricate detailing and beautiful delineated mammoth tusk ivory figurines. Set on wood in this particular sculpture, the teakwood with its grain adds to the beauty of the sculptures.

The raw material is mammoth tusk ivory which is harvested from the frozen skeletal remains of ancient mammoth tusk ivory that still lies buried in the permafrost of the vast, uninhibited expanses of Arctic and Siberian regions. As it is harder than fresh ivories, great care has to be taken to ensure that it is maintained at specific temperature so that it does not crack or turn brittle. Though most of the core ivory remains milky white, there maybe discoloration in places.

The Three Lucky Men or Three Star Gods signify prosperity, good fortune and long life as per Feng Shui or the ancient Taoist beliefs. As per the sources of Feng Shui, there are various legends associated with it. They represent celestial energies which are channelized through these Gods to benefit us. Fuk Luk Sau, as the three wise men are known need to be placed in an area where they are easily visible with good energy surrounding them. These can be any places such as a high shelf or on the table in the living area.

About Mammoth Ivory Beads And Products

Ivory is a suitable material to craft statues, figures and jewelry among a host of other products such as tusk carvings, snuff bottles, netsuke, scrimshaw and so much more. Though ivory has been carved since prehistoric times, most of it was for religious or practical purposes. But today, mammoth tusks and ivories have more of collectible value than practical use.

Many new designs of ivory have come out with the innovative techniques and artist concepts. Some of these include guitar picks, dice, hair sticks, miniature dollhouses and even jewelry. Though most of the themes are about trendy jewelry, vintage western and Chinese mythological animals, the minuet detailing is superb.  Though mammoth ivory beads have caught the fancy of women all over, even US First Lady, Michele Obama was seen sporting a multi-layered mammoth ivory beaded necklace at a formal event.

So how do artists create such varied size mammoth tusk ivory beads? The small flakes and fragments of scrap mammoth ivory are used to create varying sizes of beads. These are cut by experienced ivory technicians and later polished. The next step is making of the raw mammoth tusk ivory cylinders, which preludes a stage prior to making round beads. These are made in a production unit, technicians work to carve systematically the cylinders into beads and then they are polished to make round beads for jewelry, necklaces and host of other beads. With a host of colors and pigmented ivory, they provide a range of colors in the ivory beads.

Are Miniature Portraits Really Done on Pure Mammoth Ivory Sheets?

Though ivory has been a preferred material for hand-painted miniature portraits since the late 1700s, even today there is a demand for thin sheets of ivory.  The first time ivory sheets were used in place of vellum as material for hand painted miniatures was done by R. Carriera, a Venetian artist.

Initial sheets had the saw marks but within a few years, the process of cutting thinner sheets by scraping ended the marks of the saw. The surface was then fine tuned with the use of abrasive as ‘tooth’ was needed by the artists. Another degreasing process was used to make it more versatile for hand paintings. Originally, ivory was treated with vinegar and garlic, but later more sophisticated products were used.

Though elephant ivory was used in the 1700s through the early 20th century, in 1977 the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Animals banned elephant slaughter and later trade and use of elephant ivory was made illegal.

Mammoth ivory has filled in the gap that was created by the ban on elephant ivory. Buried under the permafrost in Arctic regions, the bones and tusks have been found and as these ivory tusks are quite similar to those of elephant ivory, it became a favored material for artists. Ivory is cut into manageable pieces and outer surface is removed before the sheets are cut or odd pieces are cut. Fine sheets are carved for artists to continue hand painting the delicate portraits, scenic beauty and other floral patterns. Check out some of the mammoth ivory art products at