Do you have heirlooms of ivory but don’t know what to do with them or want to sell them? Ivory has always been popular and it was in the 1800s and 1900s that it was a commonly used material for painting miniatures and sculpting a host of artifacts. The intricate carvings and delicate material made it a prized possession even then but most of the antique ivory sculptures were made from elephant ivory at that time.
Till 2014, selling pre-ban 1989 elephant ivory required the Special CITES approval for even the government to market ivory and all international shipments needed official certification. The reason was that there was no way to differentiate pre-1989 ivory and any ivory illegally bought or traded after the ban applied post that year.
As per new law that is being formulated, any dealing with elephant ivory is prohibited as per the latest news. Dealers, collectors and any other person that has inherited or purchased elephant ivory cannot sell it, trade or buy it. Basically, in America, everyone is banned from selling elephant ivory even if it is worth thousands of dollars and you have owned it for decades. However, 100 years old sculptures and artifacts that have proven provenance are exempt from this law.
However, mammoth ivory is completely legal and available for sale, purchase and trade in raw and finished forms. The reason is that wooly mammoths are extinct and no harm can be done by trade in mammoth ivory.
Though fakes abound, you can be a cautious buyer and understand the basics about identifying real ivory before you buy it. The main feature of identification of both elephant and mammoth ivory is the inherent cross-hatch pattern which is clearly visible in both these types of ivory. These transient lines are actually organic microscopic tubes commonly known as Schreger Lines.
That is why they cannot be duplicated in fake ivory products and are one of the easiest recognizable aspects of real, genuine ivory. Whether you need to identify elephant ivory or mammoth ivory, these lines need to be present to be qualified as genuine ivory. These lines are easy to see when the ivory has been cut at right angles and especially at the bottom of carved statues or art pieces.
Most of the time Schreger lines are used in the identification of mammoth ivory from banned elephant ivory. If you are looking to buy legal ivory, you certainly do not want to be sold any artifact or sculpture made of elephant ivory as it is illegal to trade in it, worldwide. Lines less than 90 degrees indicate that it is mammoth ivory while Schreger lines of more than 115 degree are seen in elephant ivory. This is done by studying the patterns on the outer edges not on the center of the tusk.
Unlike fakes which are carved from resins, plastics and other artificial substances, natural ivory is living tissue with a variable form and direction of growth. This is the reason that ivory grain and Schreger lines can only be seen in legal and genuine mammoth and elephant ivory with ease. Check out real mammoth ivory products at http://www.mammothivory.info