How to Identify Antique Ivory

By James Stuart
your antique ivory, you, it
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If you have a piece of ivory in your house -- such as a piece of jewelry or a statue -- you might want to identify its authenticity. This ensures that the piece is not made of ivory imitations such as plastic or bone.

Step 1

Look for discoloration. Antique ivory yellows or browns with age unless it has been restored. Bright and white ivory might be new or an imitation.

Step 2

Look at the grain lines on the ivory under a magnifying glass. If the lines do not exist, your ivory might be an imitation.

Step 3

Put on a pair of insulated gloves . Heat a pin over a lighter until it is hot enough to melt plastic. Do not touch the heated end of the pin. Hold the pin against the bottom of the ivory. A heated pin melts imitation ivory and leaves an indent.

Step 4

Look for materials that did not exist at the time your ivory was carved. Materials such as plastic-based glue on a purported antique might indicate a forgery or reproduction.