Where Does Ivory Come From?

Ivory comes from the tusks of elephants and from mastadons and mammoths, ancient ancestors of our modern-day elephant.

Mastadons lived until the end of the last Ice Age, about 8,000 years ago. Many mammoths lived in Siberia, and for a long time, most of the ivory came from there.

Men dug up the skeletons of long-dead mammoths preserved in the frozen ground. This ivory is called dead ivory, and it is not of such a high quality as live ivory.

Live ivory, of course, is more scarce. The best live ivory comes from the tusks of the African elephant. These tusks usually measure six to eight feet long, taller than the average man.

Because of the great demand for ivory, many African elephants were killed. The elephant population in Africa became much reduced from this senseless, greedy slaughter. Now, laws have been passed to protect the African elephant. Also, the increasing use of plastics may replace many of the former uses of ivory.

The longest African elephant tusk ever to be measured was eleven and a half feet long on the outside curve!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

3 thoughts on “Where Does Ivory Come From?”

  1. If I want to get the look of ivory to overlay on something but want to use a similar product except for ivory, what product would that be and how would i attain it? or how do i attain the true ivory for purchase if it is available?

  2. Ivory isn’t strictly found in Elphants and extinct animals. There are three other animals on the planet that have ivory, two are fairly obvious: walrus and boar tusks. The third of the four animals is an Elk. Their back molars are made of ivory. Neat, huh?

  3. Daphne, have you checked out Vesconite or Vesconite Hilube? I think those are synthetic ivories that a probably much more readily available then real ivory even. I think they come in block or sheet (which sounds like what you’d want) form. But I’m not too sure. Good luck.

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