How to tell if your ivory is real or an imitation piece

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How to tell if your ivory is real or an imitation piece
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Hi, I would like to share a bit of information with you to help you determine if your item (scrimshaw, whale tooth, tusk, etc.) is made from real ivory or merely an inexpensive plastic resin copy. Imitation ivory can look very much like real ivory so it is very important to know how to tell the difference.

Simply heat the point of a small sewing needle to red hot. Place the tip of it while still hot to a non-conspicuous area on the item you are testing, such as the bottom. If the needle is hot enough there'll be a little puff of smoke that results from this contact. If the smoke smells like burnt hair then you've got yourself a real piece of ivory. If a burnt plastic odor is detected then it is an imitation piece.

Do not fear damaging a genuine piece of ivory using this test. Real ivory is impenetrable to a hot needle. If the item is resin or plastic what'll remain is a small pin hole where the needle melted into the item during the test.

If you've found this tip helpful, please vote yes. Thank you.

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