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Amulets and Talismans

Since earliest times, men and women found small objects such as colorful river-tumbled rocks, beautiful crystals and metals, and found them fascinating. Holes were put in them, or cords were attached, and they were worn as Amulets and Talismans. They were worn around the neck in pendant fashion, attached to clothing or other personal objects, fastened to the doorposts of houses, or buried under the house floor. These objects were believed to take on mystical significance and they began to be worn by Shaman men and women during curative and other sacred rituals. In time, and in every culture, the Amulet or Talisman has come to mean a magical object, one that, of its own accord, uses its powers ceaselessly on behalf of the person who carries it, or attaches it to one of his/her possessions.

Although Amulets and Talismans have been worn since well before there were words to describe their mystical powers, Amulets and Talismans perform very different functions. Even the words “Amulet” and “Talisman” have very different origins: "Amulet" comes from the Latin 'amuletum' meaning an object that preserves one from harm or from illness. It is a means of global defense against any form of unease, whether of the mind or body. The Amulet exercises its powers on behalf of the individual or object ceaselessly and continually. As such, it is usually bigger and worn nearer the heart.

The derivation and meaning of the strange word "Talisman" are harder to determine. It is thought that it has its roots in the Arabic words 'Talasim' or 'Tilasmat'. These ancient words mean "to make magical marks." The object of the Talisman is very different from that of the Amulet - the Talisman is not intended to work for its owner globally – It is intended to perform only one specific task - determined by the wearer. If you wear it to make you feel secure from a specific unease, don't ask it to perform a second function. For example, if your Talisman makes you feel emotionally stronger, or more confident, don’t expect it to keep you safe from tigers! This is why many different (smaller) Talismans are usually worn by a single person.

Of all amuletic and talismanic materials, the one in use for the longest time, and most globally, indeed worldwide, is Ivory in all of its forms. This is especially true of the Fossilized Ivories which are imbued with natural markings after having been held in the earth for many centuries. The Native American cultures of Alaska and the arctic, the indigenous cultures of Africa, and even the early European cultures all believed in the mystical powers of ivory Amulets and Talismans. This is in part because of all mineral substances, only Ivory always remains warm to the touch – it is always alive. It is the most personal of all organic or inorganic materials - It actually changes its colors as it interacts with your own skin oils, and becomes more and more your own personal Amulet or Talisman. Another reason that Ivory has been used for Amulets and Talismans so universally is that, of all the organic minerals found on earth, only Ivory remains preserved in its original form many thousands of years after being buried – whether on the African veldt, or in the Arctic permafrost.

All of Ancient Ivories Studios’ Amulet and Talisman Pendant designs have their origins in very early true amuletic and talismanic jewelry found in archeological digs in ancient sites. Although we specialize in the Amulets and Talismans of the arctic regions, you will also find on our pages some Amulets and Talismans from other ancient peoples, such as the Celts. We include these only when we are able to authenticate these designs as true Amulet and Talisman designs.

It has always been understood that an Amulet or Talisman can be effective only when the wearer has strong faith that it will work its magic for him/her. Most of us own a few pieces of jewelry or that make us feel great, more in control when we wear them. This is an interaction, a synergy, between some intangible power inherent in the piece, and your own self. When you wear these pieces you are more likely to succeed - even in today's world - These pieces are most assuredly your true Amulets and Talismans.
All of our beautiful jewelry is designed to make the wearer feel something wonderful is happening! when it is worn.

These are the things you should keep in mind as you go back and browse through our Amulets and Talismans.


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None of our Ivory is contemporary, and not a single animal has been killed, culled, or otherwise harmed to produce our Fossil Ivories. It is the only perfect, ecologically sound, humane way to own and wear warm, wonderful and enduring ivory.

Fossil Ivory Colors Our high quality fossilized ivories have been reclaimed from the ground after sharing the earth for up to 30 millennia! Even after all this time, Fossil Ivory remains warm and sensuous organic ivory; it is not petrified. It has developed its beautiful colors by taking up minerals from the earth and these colors are impossible to match in any contemporary ivories by modern processes.

Scrimshaw Design Options


These are our regular
Scrimshaw Design Etchings.
In addition to these designs,
as an added option,
you may send us a
picture of your choice
for a
commission price quote.




We Use No Elephant Ivory, Nor Contemporary Ivories of Any Kind.
Every piece of Sperm Whale Ivory we sell, is registered with the Department of Commerce, and comes with a Department of Commerce registration number.[Our license does not allow us to ship Sperm Whale Ivory outside of the United States.]


Don't see exactly what you want? We also do commission pieces. Need a really special holiday or other gift? From jewelry, buttons (knitters take note!), fountain pens, corkscrews, pistol grips, ball point pens and mechanical pencils, desk accessories, Fossil Ivory ship models, ship half hulls, Nantucket and Lightship Baskets, to custom whole Sperm Whale Teeth or whole Walrus Tusks. We even handcraft fossil ivory sailing/nautical trophies to order. We will handcraft and even personalize any piece with a scrimshawed name, initials or design of your choice.(Our website is not large enough to show all of the different pieces we have made to order!)

We have many more fine knives in our studio that are not on our website. Email us for availability of your favorite knife with Fossil Ivory handles! (We also replace scales on treasured old knives.)

Just email us at studio@ancientivories.com and let us know your special order needs!


LEARN ABOUT ANCIENT IVORIES STUDIOS AND OUR GALLERY CRAFT SHOW OUTLETS BY CLICKING ON THE LINK AT RIGHT
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