Bone, tusk, or neither?


I was sorting through some jewelry I set aside from the pillowcase full I found in early April. I’m going to put some on Etsy and others I’ll throw in the yard-sale bin.

Three specific pieces stuck out because of their material. They all look to be made of bone or ivory, which comes predominantly from elephant tusks but also other animals. This necklace looks fairly old and appeared to be composed of different segments glued together.


This pendant (about 2″ high) looks to be two separate, solid pieces.


This small pendant (close to 2″ tall) definitely looks like a tusk, from what I don’t know.

Finding all this trash gives me a great opportunity to learn about things I may not have learned about otherwise. If anyone knows anything about these pieces – what material they’re made of; what animal they came from; their value and anything else – let me know as I’m definitely curious!

My trip to Rosemont in the morning didn’t bring home much. Hopefully my trip to the Mile-End proves more fruitful.

9 thoughts on “Bone, tusk, or neither?”

  1. The first one definitely looks like elephant ivory. The last one could be elephant or seal ivory. These are expensive pieces for sure.

  2. Do your due diligence; there may be some worth here.

    Here’s an interesting blog about (mostly) vintage jewelry that you might want to follow.

    Identifying ivory and bone.

    How to tell ivory from bone.

    Send an inquiry here, perhaps

    Your first piece has similarities to this:

    The brass fittings on the first one hints at something from India. The round, middle piece … a netsuke maybe?

  3. I have a bracelet like that but it has a big jade inset at the closure.It is from India and it is bone.The clasps are brass.I’m guessing $120.

  4. When my Mom had an antique shop in Texas, I saw a bracelet that was made of tortoise shell, looked very similar to that, alot of shops that have similar pendants are made of jade.

  5. anybody dealing in ivory – buying or selling is guilty of promoting illegal ivory trade – if ivory had no worth – all poaching would stop – so buying or selling ANY ivory is just promoting poaching – THERE IS A 62% DROP IN THE POPULATION OF ALL ELEPHANTS – THANKS TO EBAY SELLERS THAT SHOW POOR PEOPLE IN AFRICA & ASIA – THEY MIGHT MAKE MONEY ON EBAY BY GOING OUT AND SLAUGHTERING AN ELEPHANT — It is a 2 year Gestation to make an elephant – Often the babies are left to see the slaughter of its mother and they are then left defensless and die too – what sort of cruel person kills out a spieces for their teeth?
    Any person selling ivory or buying it – is just as guilty as a poacher –

    1. I’m not sure it’s so absolute. I think there are people who may want to buy my ivory (if it is indeed ivory) who would not go out of their way to purchase from other sources. I think it’s possible to have an interest in antique pieces of ivory without having a desire of “new” ivory. Ivory is an amazing material with an interesting (and morbid) history and reality and certain people appreciate it as such.

      If this is ivory I plan on selling it. I hope to not promote the ivory trade as it’s endangering a lot of different animals, however it also seems like a shame to have them sitting around when I don’t have the same personal interest in having them.

Comments are closed.