A guide to identifying Ivory and Ivory Substitutes
Bone has been used in arts and crafts for at least as long as the usage of ivory has been, and some of the products that are fashioned from bone are very stunning. If they were constructed of ivory, many of the bigger pieces would simply be unaffordable on the market. Bone is a beautiful and more cheap alternative to ivory, and many pieces are comparable in terms of their aesthetic appeal to ivory. Bone comes from a renewable source.
Bone is relatively simple to recognise, but it might be difficult to accept, particularly if you spent a significant amount of money on a specific item. Bones, in contrast to teeth and tusks, contain many minute canals that run through them. These canals are responsible for transporting nutrients and housing nerves and other organic material. Sometimes, some of this organic stuff will stick to the sides of these canals, and as it decomposes, it will give the walls of the canals a black colour. This organic material may be extremely difficult to notice in pieces that have been bleached to a high degree; nevertheless, the canals are still there and will be seen if you rotate the item back and forth to reflect the light.
In most cases, black patches and/or canals are easy to see and have been described as looking like Dad’s face in the evening or on Saturday afternoon.
A further telltale clue that a bigger piece is constructed of bone is that it requires a number of smaller pieces of bone to be laminated or bonded together in order to create an object that is wider than a couple of inches.