Facts about Alaskan Ivory

Alaskan Ivory

There are a few different types of ivory that the jewelers, artists and knife makers use in Alaska. Mammoth Ivory, mostly found by the gold miners, and walrus ivory either found while beachcombing, or “fresh ivory” hunted and used by Native Alaskans. We do not normally sell elephant ivory items except for a few pieces in our estate jewelry section from time to time.

Both walrus ivory and mammoth ivory that are darker colors are referred to as fossilized ivory, although it is not a true “fossil” which is something organic that has been turned into stone after millions of years. The dark walrus and mammoth ivory found here are several hundred to tens of thousands of years old, which is what helps to give it the beautiful colors. These “old ivory” pieces are found in the tundra, while beachcombing along the oceans and rivers, and by the miners who are moving a lot of dirt and gravel while searching for gold.

“White ivory” also called “fresh ivory” is from a walrus taken less that 100 years ago by a hunter who uses the meat of the animal for food and the skin and other parts for a variety of products for subsistence uses and the ivory for art.