All About Our Fossil Ivories

U.S. LAWS governing all of our fossil ivory sales:

  • FOSSIL WALRUS IVORY: May be owned, and bought and sold in the U.S.
  • FOSSIL MAMMOTH IVORY: May be owned and bought and sold in the U.S.
  • REGISTERED SPERM WHALE IVORY: May be owned. It may be bought and sold only in intrastate commerce. Since we are in Maryland, we can only sell and ship to any address in Maryland.

All items chosen with Registered Sperm Whale Ivory will come with a Registration Certificate containing the Department of Commerce registration number.

Ancient Ivories Studios Uses No Elephant Ivory, Nor Contemporary Ivories of Any Kind

We use only fossilized walrus ivory (1000 to 12000 years old), fossilized mammoth ivory (10000 to 30000 years old), and old whale ivory registered with Department of Commerce.

Our high quality fossilized ivories have been reclaimed from the ground after thousands of years of sharing the earth. Fossil ivory remains warm and sensuous organic ivory. It is not petrified. Our Fossil Ivory has developed its colors by taking up minerals from the earth.
Ancient Ivories Studios has chosen Fossil Ivories as its exclusive medium because only ivory, amongst all of nature's materials is changed by the personal chemistry of the wearer, and retains the wearer's imprint. It has been recognized as the most personally significant material since the dawn of time. 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 perfect, ecologically sound, humane way to wear warm, wonderful and enduring ivory.

Each handmade piece of our Fossilized Ivory wearables is personal and unique - unlike any other piece in the world. As it continues to be worn, each piece of jewelry and accessory will take on new and individual hues as a result of its interaction with the oils of your own body. In a most personal way, then, you will view each piece as very special. More than simply a piece of jewelery, our wearables will connect the individual wearer it to the spirituality felt by ancient man and woman. We are convinced that Ancient Ivories Studios handmade wearables and accessories will bring you great pleasure and become your very favorite pieces, as they have for thousands of our customers for the past 35 years. Ivory quickly became the primary focus of early people's spirituality wherever it was available. Wherever ancient man lived, he was entranced by the inexpressibly spiritual mystery of amulets and talismans made from all types of ivory. And why not? It is the only wearable organic material that changes its color, and becomes more and more personal each time it is worn.

Ancient images found on early amulets and in the dwelling places of ancient peoples show that, from the very beginning of man's recorded history up to the present day, we have prized the warm and sensuous feel of ivory.

Our Fossil Walrus Ivory

Our Fossil Walrus Ivory is 1000 to 12,000 years old. Subsistence hunting of the large walrus population in the ancient arctic supplied Native American peoples with not only food and clothing, but large stores of Walrus Ivory. All ancient Arctic cultures: Inuit, Inupiat, Siberian, Tinglit, and others, believed in the spiritual, magical and enduring qualities of ivories, especially Fossilized Walrus Ivory. Wherever Arctic Bering Sea Native American peoples lived, they were entranced by the inexpressibly spiritual mystery of amulets and talismans made from Walrus Ivory. Special Walrus Ivory amulets, talismans and shamanistic images were considered necessary to insure success in every field of endeavor: hunting (harpoon points and counterweights), gathering (basket accessories), medicines and health (shamanistic images). Even everyday implements were carved from ivory to insure success in daily family life: spoons, jewelry, knife handles, even parka toggles were fashioned from Fossil Walrus and Fossil Mammoth Ivory.

Our Fossil Oosik Ivoryy

Oosik ivory is the penis bone (baculum) of some primates, such as walrus, sea lions. whales, and seals. Fossil oosik ivory is much prized for knife handles and jewelry by collectors. It is found buried along the shoreline in northern territories, and its color comes from the color of the minerals surrounding it. Our oosik ivory is more than 10,000 years old.

Our Fossil Mammoth Ivory

Mammoths were actually contemporary with Homo sapiens and Neanderthals during the time period this sculpture was carved. Mammoths first appeared about 5 million years ago, and became ubiquitous in Asia, North America, Africa and Europe until they died out about 10,000 years ago. (Except on Wrangel Island in the Chuckchi Sea, where a small population survived until about 3500 years ago, and St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea, where they survived until about 5600 years ago.) Mastodons first appeared about 30 million years ago in Africa, migrated to Eurasia, and what is now North and Central America. They, too, disappeared about 10,000 years ago. Today, fossil mammoth and mastodon ivories are primarily found buried in the tundra of Siberia, Alaska, and northern Canada, although many tusks are also unearthed in other places in the northern hemisphere, e.g., the lower United States. Fossil walrus ivory is found along the beaches of the Bering Sea or buried at dump middens in many ancient villages of Arctic First Peoples.

A large mammoth population roamed over broad stretches of the earth at the same time as early man. Ancient drawings found on the walls of early man's dwelling caves in Europe and America show us that early man was drawn to the use of mammoth ivory for many shamanistic, personal, and household items. The mammoth's 12 foot long tusks were used to support the roofs of ancient houses. Many tusks were cut up and intricately carved to make wearable beads and talismans worn by everyone in the villages. Shamanistic carvings and etchings were indispensible to medicine men and women. A substantial number of these Fossil Ivory wearables have been unearthed from early gravesites, where they were buried to insure an easy transition from the earthly world to the spiritual.

Our Sperm Whale Ivory

Our Sperm Whale Ivory is part of the very small amount of stock registered by the U.S. Department of Commerce. This stock entered the United States in 1891, before it was realized that these great whales were in danger of extinction. No more Sperm Whale Ivory can enter the United States, nor can any be exported. The supply is extremely limited, and is not renewable. Each piece of Sperm Whale Ivory is numbered and registered with the U.S. Department of Commerce. Sperm Whale Ivory can be shipped only to addresses in Maryland, or picked up in person from our Maryland studio. Sperm Whale Ivory comes from the teeth of Sperm Whales, and has travelled througout the world's oceans, sometimes as deep as a mile below the surface. It is the most durable of all of the world's ivories. Its warm golden tones make it immediately recognizable as the very ivory brought back by the American whalers during the first three-quarters of the 19th century. The whaling industry was the most important industry in early America; at the height of the hand whaling era (1820 to about 1855) 20,000 men and 750 sailing ships were engaged in the whaling trade. Before the discovery of petroleum most household lighting was done by the light of whale oil lamps. Baleen (the hairy plates that hang down in the mouths of plankton-feeding whales) was used wherever a strong springy material was needed (in corset stays, umbrellas and buggy whips)before spring steel was invented. Please note: International customers are responsible for all taxes, duties and fees required by their customs services, which are levied once the package reaches your country. Additional charges for customs clearance must be borne by you; Ancient Ivories Studios has no control over these charges and cannot predict what they may be. Customs policies vary widely from country to country; the Buyer should contact his/her local customs office for further information.

We have the largest selection of fossil ivories anywhere! Highest Quality - Handmade in our studio and satisfaction guaranteed Personalize most items at no extra charge! We can do commissioned pieces.
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