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Ivory and Conch Shell
by: Anonymous

Ivory is one of the oldest materials used for jewelry and ornamental purposes. Ivory doesn't just mean Elephant ivory, the tusks of hippopotamus and walrus are also classified as ivory.

The ivory trade has been banned since 1989. But some nations believe that trade should simply be regulated, the issue never seems to quite go away.

If you have a jewelers loupe or under strong magnification, you can often tell if its ivory or conch shell by examining the surface of the material; ivory most often has a feint pattern. Eelephant ivory can be distinguished by its "cross hatched" or "engine turned" look. The other animal ivories have wavy, grainy lines.

Because a tiny drop of nitric acid from a gold testing kit in an inconspicuous place on Both conch shell and ivory material will start the acid to effervesce, other methods of determination have to be undertaken. As mentioned above animal ivory under magnification will show a perceptual structure.

Also animal ivory tends to yellow with age, which adds to its beauty. In china they soak ivory with tea and other mixtures to make it look old.

best wishes,

Yvonne Hammouda-Eyre

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Bell, C., J. How to be a Jewelry Detective, A.D. Publishing Kansas, 2002.

me too ivory or shell?
by: Jo

I would love to know the answer as well! Let me know if you get any response.


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