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I inherited a bunch of Walrus Tusk Ivory when my Father died.  He was a jeweler and used it in some of his pieces.  I'm not "up" on what I can and can't sell when it comes to Ivory.  I know there's a big deal about Elephant Ivory.  Is Walrus legal?

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7 hours ago, Chris Christenberry said:

I inherited a bunch of Walrus Tusk Ivory when my Father died.  He was a jeweler and used it in some of his pieces.  I'm not "up" on what I can and can't sell when it comes to Ivory.  I know there's a big deal about Elephant Ivory.  Is Walrus legal?

Basic rules here... https://gustavus.com/heidi/laws.html

Then there are 10 states now which do not allow the sale of any type of ivory in these states. Federal law prohibits the sale of ivory across state lines.

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Yup, I've seen that site...............as well as a ton of other "searched" Internet sites.  But they don't really answer my question.

 

This is, to the best of my knowledge, Walrus tusk Ivory and is cut into 1/4" slabs.  I have no earthly idea when/where he purchased it.  He was a jeweler from about 1978 to 2005 when his eyesight deteriorated to the point he could no longer work on jewelry.  My "guess" is he bought it at the Jewelry/Gem Market in Tuscon one year where he often bought thousands of dollars worth of stuff like that.  But there's no paperwork of any kind.  

 

Since I am certain it was purchased after 1972 and have no idea if whoever sold it to him purchased it legally or not, should I just consider it banned and only make knives for my personal use......................and not use it for any "for sale" knives?

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Just say something like "Free ivory handle with the purchase of this expensive blade". That could cover some sales but I don't know about shipping.

 

laws are stupid, it would work I'm sure. You would have to be sure to treat it as a gift though.

 

as an example: legally I could make a firearm that doesn't need any tax stamps (or other scams like that, anything I can legally own) but I couldn't make one for the purpose of selling it and sell it. however, if it's not made to be sold I can sell it later.

 

 

Edited by steven smith

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If you don't have documentation that it was legal when purchased, and it's not part of an obviously antique object, you can't legally sell it across state lines or internationally, period.  Annoying and stupid, but that's how it is.  That probably wouldn't stop me from using it, though.  I'd just claim ignorance as to what it is if anyone asked.  I have some synthetic ivory that is practically impossible to tell from the real stuff unless you do the hot needle test.  I might just say I thought that's what it was.

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Hmmmmm.  Well, all it's ever going to be used for is a spacer now and then.  Not going to stand out and scream "I'm Ivory".  Just a white spacer.  Of course, it would probably be good not to point out in any advertising that it's Ivory.

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Seems a shame to use good ivory scales for spacers.

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It is a shame. We’re it me, I would use it as best suited by the piece, (ex., slab handle, inlay, etc). Doesn’t mean you have to sell it.

And if somebody should want whatever you decided to make, perhaps a “trade” could be worked out. :rolleyes:

 

Gary LT

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There may well be a lab local to you, that could verify the age of said material and give updated paperwork 

while I have no interest in modern illegal harvest ivory,

the old fossilised and shed etc, is a stunning material 

I would also add, I do not think ignorance is a defense if you are pulled at customs for selling buying travelling etc,

The C,I,T,E,S regs are worth a few mins to read etc,

I know many of you already know, but for the search engine thing etc,

personally I would box it up and store until things either change or you have a piece you think is worthy of the material,

micarta or bone is good for spacers,

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Gary, I'd surely agree if these were slabs like handle scales.  Since Walrus tusk is pretty much round, these are just slices about 3/16" to 1/4" thick and the largest ones about an inch and a quarter in diameter.  About all I can see to use them for is spacers on hidden tang knives.   Smallest ones are about the size of a nickle.   I could use those smaller ones for inlays, etc.

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sounds like a good excuse to make a few folding knives :)

 

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Why folding knives?

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I'm sitting with some non-elephant ivory sent to me by a professional hunter for use on a knife he wants me to make.

I was very surprised to find out it's not legal :ph34r: , especially considering he culled the animal himself.

My mentor burned all the ivory he's been given over the years prior to a recent move, and he informed that when he used ivory on request, he did not put his makers mark on the knife.

Some French tourists recently received a massive fine for a small piece of cracked and weathered ivory they picked up in a park.....

 

I have mixed feeling about this, morally I don't see a problem with the ivory I have, but elephant, rhino, pangolin  and rosewood are being decimated by poachers to satisfy the thirst of the east :angry:

 

Maybe writing this reply highlights my own hippocracy and gives me some clarity......

 

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I don't see the point of using ivory,  particularly for smaller pieces? Regular cow bone is practically indistinguishable. Very few people can tell the difference. 

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10 hours ago, Chris Christenberry said:

Why folding knives?

I think he missed the part about it being in coin-type slices rather than scales.

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Oh, okay.

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Gerhard, what kind of ivory?  Warthog should be relatively legal, don't know about hippo.  I've been told hippo is much softer than some, though...

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8 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

I think he missed the part about it being in coin-type slices rather than scales.

oops, yep.  My bad...

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@ChrisChristenberry, Sorry I missed these dimensions. Oh well, spacers or small inlays are doable.

Gary LT

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Fossil ivory is readily available and legal in most places. It has zero documentation to go with it. Most of it has coloration from the minerals it picked up over time, or "bark" on the exterior, but I have a few pieces of what they call "interior" that is pretty darn white. I do not think anyone buying knives today would look at any ivory used that the maker said was "fossil ivory" and think twice about the legality of it. (except in those states with a total ban). Any piece of regular ivory can be made to look ancient. It's really difficult to distinguish between the two anymore.

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20 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Gerhard, what kind of ivory?  Warthog should be relatively legal, don't know about hippo.  I've been told hippo is much softer than some, though...

Hippo indeed......

I have several Warthog tusks, no worries about those.  

Very interesting about the Hippo ivory being soft, how does that influence working with it?

The PH wants me to somehow make the scales and preserve the wear marks and discoloration.

 

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I have not worked with it myself, but the late Larry Harley had a foot-long hippo tusk on his bench for years.  He used pre-ban elephant, fossil ivory, walrus, oosik, and warthog frequently, but never the hippo.  When I asked why, he said the interior dentin was soft and the enamel wasn't thick enough to shape without getting into the dentin.  

Sounds like your PH friend just wants it slabbed, which would be fine based on what I was told. 

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