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QUESTION: Hello.Ive come across a cuff bracelet that someone told me could  be ivory. I doubt so, however i am trying to learn as much as I can about it. I do have a "feeling" about it for some reason, but that could be several things. It did NOT attach to a magnet.
I am going to attempt a good pic for you and thanks.

ANSWER: Kristi, ivory is not magnetic.

The following dropped in my lap when looking for images to show what is said below. It is from Google answers and is correct.  This should answer the question. A jeweler's 10x loupe will help in seeing patterns in ivory or "pore on bone.

The most likely imposters are Bone and Plastic ( Resin ) To test for
plastic, the easiest and most common method is the pin test. Heat a
pin(or preferred sewing needle heat at the tip) to red-hot and touch it to the item. If it melts, its plastic.*
If it doesn't melt, we narrowed it down to Bone or Ivory. There should
be no fear of damaging the piece using this method because Ivory will
be undamaged by this test, and if it melts, it wasn't worth much

Now comes the tough part. You have determined that it is not plastic.
So it must be bone or ivory. The coloration of Ivory is usually very
consistent throughout the entire piece. ( no light and dark patches )
It has a very fine grain that appears in a wood grain pattern. A magnifier will help with this exam.

Black cracks ( age lines ) are not uncommon in very old pieces of Ivory.
Bone, on the other hand, tends to have numerous discolorations and
distinct feature. Patches of Brown or Black spots resembling a beard,
or dark blotches consisting of parallel lines. Another potential clue
is that most bone items are made using 3 to 4 pieces of bone. Look for

*Not mentioned is  bakelite an early turn of the century plastic like substance. Think whitish to yellowish white bangle). It won’t have a melted indention so much as most plastics but may have an acrid smell from fumes.

TEST: A visual inspection of ivory under strong light will usually
reveal some of the tusk structure. The most definitive pattern is
described as looking like "stacked chevrons" or a "cross-hatch"
pattern somewhere in the item(often at the edges), barely seen as the
item is turned in strong light. Other patterns are wavy (indicating
the layers of the tusk).

Thanks for the question and the good photos. Blessing and Peace.  Thomas.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: If it happens to truly be ivory, what estimate of value would apply?

Dear Kristi,

There is not a reasonable way to estimate a value from where I am sitting.   I do not buy or sell ivory items and current market values vary.  I suggest you look  on the net for ivory jewelry  and compare what you see with yours.  Visual appearance is important as is being a close match to your bracelet.  If I had the bracelet and a good legal source of ivory items like yours, I would also be asking but not on the net. I would ask a trusted supplier and get an accurate and current valuation from a person dealing in such items every day.  In that regard, you might go to a reputagble jeweler with certification for appraisal work or if there is one within reach, a seller of estate jewelry items which will more likely have ivory in stock.

Thanks. Best wishes with the bracelet and God Bless.  Thomaa.  

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Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.


I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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