🔎 UNIDENTIFIED Anyone Know Ivory?

pistol-pete

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UnderMiner

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Do you see cross hatching patterns within the material, like a repeating tic-tac-toe patern? These are called Schreger Lines and are only present in ivory. I can't tell for sure because the photos are kind of blurry.
 

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Red-Coat

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Do you see cross hatching patterns within the material, like a repeating tic-tac-toe patern? These are called Schreger Lines and are only present in ivory. I can't tell for sure because the photos are kind of blurry.

Schreger lines are indeed only present in ivory, but only in material from elephants (and fossil mammoths). Ivory from tusks and teeth of species other than hose-noses (whales, walrus etc) doesn't have Schreger lines.
 

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pistol-pete

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New photos. Looked for cross hatching, however these over 100 year old rouge surfaces don't show any. There are vertical strisations in the concave part in upper left photo of the back. Would not the pin test be same in either material? Couldn"t get the straitations to to show. They are straight lines top to bottom of chollowed out part.
 

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ToddsPoint

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I’ve made quite a few SA Colt grips from mammoth ivory. That material doesn’t look like mammoth to me. I’ve never worked walrus so know nothing about it. These are all rejects for one reason or another. The last pic shows the Schreger lines. Depending on the angle the lines cross, you can tell the difference between mammoth and elephant. Do you want to sell those grips?😎
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ToddsPoint

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Another possibility would be Hippo ivory. If you look at this piece of Hippo ivory you can see that is somewhat translucent. Hold your grips up to a light and see. Elephant and mammoth are completely opaque.
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Clay Diggins

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Would not the pin test be same in either material?
No. That's why I wrote it will work if you can smell. Having experience with the pin test really helps.

Get the pin red hot. Use pliers or you will get your fingers red hot. Push the pin into the material at an angle. Do this in an inconspicuous place on the object.

Ivory will resist the pin, smell like your tooth under a dentist drill, and will not burn but may leave a small scorch mark that easily buffs out.

Bone will smell like burning flesh, hair or meat, will allow the pin to enter further than ivory, will definitely burn the bone and will leave a burn mark that requires abrasives or a knife to remove the burned spot.

If the piece is man made it will melt when the pin is applied and smell like the plastic it is made of.

I suggest you get a small piece of beef bone, let it dry thoroughly, then try the pin test on the bone and your scales at the same time. If they smell and burn the same you have bone scales. If it doesn't burn or melt you more than likely have ivory.

This test works because ivory is made of enamel and dentine like your teeth, bones although tough have no enamel or dentine and are made of collagen. Both teeth and bones have the mineral apatite as part of their composition but that mineral has no odor and doesn't burn.
 

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Clay Diggins

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Hippopotamus ivory is made by removing the hard enamel layer from the hippo tooth. Hippo ivory does not have Schreger lines. It does have fine concentric lines in cross section.

Elephant ivory is semi translucent, Walrus Ivory much more translucent that elephant ivory in cross section but no Schreger lines. Hippo ivory is the hardest and most dense ivory and has little to no translucence much like bone.
 

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Clay Diggins

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To learn more about identifying ivory I suggest the excellent CITES Identification guide for Ivory

Here's a paragraph from the portion on walrus ivory identification:

The tip of a walrus tusk has an enamel coating which is worn away during the animal’s youth. Fine
longitudinal cracks, which appear as radial cracks in cross-section, originate in the cementum and
penetrate the dentine. These cracks can be seen throughout the length of the tusk. Whole cross-sections of
walrus tusks are generally oval with widely spaced indentations. The dentine is composed of two types:
primary dentine and secondary dentine (often called osteodentine) (Fig. 13). Primary dentine has a
classical ivory appearance. Secondary dentine looks marbled or oatmeal-like. This type of secondary
dentine is diagnostic for walrus tusk ivory.
 

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