Ivory NecklaceI received this necklace from my father in 1985 as a Christmas present. At the time he worked at the UCONN library and a co-worker of his, Nancy Martin, had a father who specialized in doing scrimshaw.
My father asked Nancy about the necklace. Nancy looked at the photos and said: "That is definitely my fatherís work. Yes, it should be ivory. He _very_ occasionally worked on synthetic but that doesnít look like synthetic. The way to tell definitely is to heat a needle and place the hot point on the back of the piece. If it melts, itís synthetic, but I am almost 100% sure itís ivory.
Iíd forgotten that he did that for you. There were a couple of Christmases that I sold lots of his jewelry to library folks."
A further follow-up indicated:
"I can tell you that the use of ivory from whales was banned well before 1985 though Dad had a stock of whales teeth that were obtained legally back in the 60s. You necklace is definitely not from a whales tooth. Iím not sure what type of ivory it is. It is an ivory commonly purchased by scrimshaw artisans. A check of a supplier would probably give you the answer."
My message to her:
Elephant ivory was banned in 1989 so thatís part of why Iím curious Ė 1985 was barely pre-ban so it was during the discussion period. Iíd have to find a supplier that was in business in 1985 and then ask if suppliers were still using elephant ivory in 1985 or if theyíd converted over to something else in preparation for the ban, if they remember that time period in particular. Iíll give that a try, if youíre not sure!
"If you find anything out, let me know. I have a couple of hundred ivory blanks that my father never used. It would be interesting to know what type of ivory they are. They all look like yours, though some of it was, Iím sure purchased later."
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