Mammoth Bone Versus Mammoth Ivory

by leehulcher on December 1, 2009

Amy Asks: Can you give me a history about the bone you use in your artwork.

Dear Amy,
   First let me explain the difference between Mammoth Ivory and Mammoth Bone and the fact that I do not use any fossil bone in any of my ivory jewelry.  The reason behind this is that all bone is soft and full of mirco-small holes designed for producing blood for the animal.  This makes the pieces found soft and entirely to brittle to work with.  The bone is used to form the skeleton of the animal.
The Ivory Tusks (2) that are set out to either side of the Mammoths trunk are actual concidered a pair of external teeth, and therefore much harder then bone and less likely to break down and decompose like bone.  These 2 tusks, have very much the same make up as your teeth, but a little bigger, and alot harder.

  Every piece of Mammoth Ivory I use has been found by myself or a family member either in one of the family mining operations in the interior of Alaska or along the many rivers that flow threw the area.

   The ivory is legal to possess and ranges in age from 10,000 years old to 250,000 years old.  Once in a great while we will find a very old piece of Mastidon Ivory which is even older.   This Mastidon Ivory is almost rock hard and has a horrible odor (while it is being worked), so I try not to work with it that much.

 Thanks for the question Amy, if you have any more feel free to ask. or 




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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

leehulcher September 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm

There were both Mammoths and Mastodon on both continents. However, due to the age and preservation we find mostly Wholly Mammoth in the permafrost in Canada and Alaska. Columbian, Siberian and Mastodon ivories are also found but with greater rarety.

You can tell the difference by the color, the weight and the hardness of the ivories, and if you are lucky enough to be able to work the other ivories mentioned, by the aweful smell.

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