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Old 11-15-2015, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,434 posts, read 41,608,566 times
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I have some gorgeous ivory jewelry---bracelets, earrings, pendants etc which I inherited from an aunt probably 40 years ago and she got it after WWII when she was in Japan.

I wore in many years ago but have no desire to wear it now.
I am wondering if
1) is it illegal to try to sell it?
2) would jewelry stores be interested?
3) Is anybody in the states wearing ivory jewelry now?

I have 3 daughters but none of them are interested in jewelry of any kind.
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Old 11-15-2015, 02:22 PM
 
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It's not illegal to sell antique ivory. Specialty jewelry collectors and stores would be very interested in those antique ivory pieces, just do some online searching.
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Old 11-15-2015, 02:28 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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I wear ivory. It's entirely possible that the "Japanese" ivory is legal ivory; studies done by government officials in Siberia have shown that most of the ivory being sold in Hong Kong and Taiwan at the time (90's), was from mammoth tusk, and therefore, legal to sell internationally, Some of Russia's regions have clamped down on illegal mammoth-tusk-taking since then (they're trying to control the market so that they, not some poachers, benefit from the proceeds). The ivory I bought in Taiwan in the 80's, which I thought was elephant ivory at the time, is actually mammoth. So you could have someone who knows how to tell the difference evaluate it. But since it's antique ivory and came into the US legally, that's not necessary. It would just be interesting to know, that's all.

P.S. Ivory yellows over time. If you're going to sell it, do it while it still looks fresh enough.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:34 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
I wear ivory. It's entirely possible that the "Japanese" ivory is legal ivory; studies done by government officials in Siberia have shown that most of the ivory being sold in Hong Kong and Taiwan at the time (90's), was from mammoth tusk, and therefore, legal to sell internationally, Some of Russia's regions have clamped down on illegal mammoth-tusk-taking since then (they're trying to control the market so that they, not some poachers, benefit from the proceeds). The ivory I bought in Taiwan in the 80's, which I thought was elephant ivory at the time, is actually mammoth. So you could have someone who knows how to tell the difference evaluate it. But since it's antique ivory and came into the US legally, that's not necessary. It would just be interesting to know, that's all.

P.S. Ivory yellows over time. If you're going to sell it, do it while it still looks fresh enough.
But that doesn't make sense. Of course if it's antique it will be somewhat yellow. This was brought home from Japan in the 40's and god only knows how old it was when it was purchased. would think the yellow cast would be a way to verify it really is antique jewelry, right?
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Old 11-16-2015, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Raleigh
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Save it, in the event that your daughters will find sentimental value or interest in it later on.
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Old 11-16-2015, 01:48 PM
 
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How about old ivory piano keys?


Is there anything that can be done with them?
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Old 11-16-2015, 05:24 PM
 
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You can get the yellow out of ivory. Ivory piano keys can be spruced up by rubbing them with lemon juice.

The ivory from old piano keys can also be salvaged if the piano itself is being scrapped... someone will buy it and carve it, most likely for jewelry.
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Old 11-16-2015, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma USA
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Since it is vintage jewelry from the days before CITES laws on ivory trade it is completely legal to own.

Fresh, new ivory is called "white" ivory, and that is what is illegal.

No, you will not have Fish and Wildlife officers breaking down your door to confiscate it if you list it on a reputable antiques venue, such as trocadero or rubylane

Anyone with the least background in antique jewelry can tell vintage ivory from new. So can customs officers and specialized wildlife parts trafficking officers.

You're not some shady character selling chunks of fresh tusk. You're like any of the other millions of women who have inherited or collected ivory decades ago.

Do not "polish up" the ivory, or try to lighten it. The very fact that it has yellowed is the evidence of its age that makes it both legal and ethical to own, wear, and enjoy.

And mainly do not let it get lost or destroyed! There is no more!

There is testing nowadays that can distinguish elephant from mammoth ivory, but it only comes into play when huge quantities are seized.

Some aficionados say that one can tell the difference in the grain by looking, but that is hard to accomplish. And there is really no price difference between vintage elephant and vintage mammoth ivory.

Alaskan mammoth ivory is still harvested in the US and sold legally, as is Siberian mammoth ivory.
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Old 11-16-2015, 08:41 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,434 posts, read 41,608,566 times
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many thanks to all the helpful posts in this thread. I'm really learning a lot.
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma USA
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If and when you list it for sale on a reputable antiques venue, make sure you tell the provenance and age of it, i.e. 'Inherited from a great-aunt whose husband served in US military in Occupoed Japan. Purchased in Osaka between 1946-48, brought into US no later than 1949.'

Photograph it with other jewelry from the same vintage collection. And especially good if you can photograph it with something like postcards from Occupied Japan.

This will reassure non-expert potential buyers that it is truly antique.

People adept at such things can tell just from close up photographs.

I've sold inherited ivory (ugly 'safari' statues), and provenance means everything to the casual buyer, as well as many investors.
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