Solid Ivory Optical Objects

Two ivory eyebaths, England, to the left - late 1800s, example on the right with a decorated base, circa 1820 Extraordinary and unusually rare
Two ivory eyebaths, England, to the left - late 1800s, example on the right with a decorated base, circa 1820 Extraordinary and unusually rare
Silver lorgnette, for a man, on the long ivory handle a noble coat of arms has been carved, English, hallmarked Birmingham 1834, Vascellari Collection
Silver lorgnette, for a man, on the long ivory handle a noble coat of arms has been carved, English, hallmarked Birmingham 1834, Vascellari Collection
Crème-white ivory statue, dressed in Napoleonic clothes, from Dieppe, Normandy, which was the center of French ivory work from the 16th through the 19th centuries, height 17 cm, around 1850, Collection Aangenendt
Crème-white ivory statue, dressed in Napoleonic clothes, from Dieppe, Normandy, which was the center of French ivory work from the 16th through the 19th centuries, height 17 cm, around 1850, Collection Aangenendt
Cockade spyglass fan with one small draw telescope, carved ivory blades, French, about 1800, Museo dell’Occhiale
Cockade spyglass fan with one small draw telescope, carved ivory blades, French, about 1800, Museo dell’Occhiale
This example combines two leading patents (brevets) in the evolution of binoculars (opera glasses), ivory and two-draw, but the 1st draw is made using the Lemière system, with the adjusting device between the objective tubes, while the 2nd draw is made using the Monneret system, moving each eye separately. The second draw comes out and shows the name Derepas, 24 Palais Royal, 1850-70. Special.
This example combines two leading patents (brevets) in the evolution of binoculars (opera glasses), ivory and two-draw, but the 1st draw is made using the Lemière system, with the adjusting device between the objective tubes, while the 2nd draw is made using the Monneret system, moving each eye separately. The second draw comes out and shows the name Derepas, 24 Palais Royal, 1850-70. Special.

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Developed with the kind expert assistance of Jean-Marie Devriendt along with the support of many other people

From Wikipedia we learn that ivory is a hard, white, opaque substance that is the bulk of the teeth and tusks of animals such as the elephant, hippopotamus, walrus, mammoth, narwhal, etc. Prior to the introduction of plastics, it was used for billiard balls, piano keys, bagpipes, buttons and ornamental items (including optical objects). The word "ivory" was traditionally applied to the tusks of elephants; in fact, the word is ultimately from Ancient Egyptian âb, âbu "elephant". Plastics have been viewed by piano purists as an inferior ivory substitute on piano keys, although other recently developed materials more closely resemble the feel of real ivory.

Paleolithic Cro-Magnon man, during the late stages of the ice age, was the first to carve in ivory (mammoth tusks). Both the Greek and Roman civilizations used large quantities of ivory to make high value works of art, precious religious objects, and decorative boxes for costly objects. Ivory was often used to form the whites of the eyes of statues. The Syrian and North African elephant populations were basically reduced to extinction, probably due to the demand for ivory in the Classical world.
Tooth and tusk ivory can be carved into an almost infinite variety of shapes and objects. A small example of modern carved ivory objects must include small statuary, netsukes, jewelry, flatware handles, furniture inlays, and piano keys. Additionally, warthog tusks, and teeth from sperm whales, orcas and hippos can also be scrimshawed or superficially carved, thus retaining their morphologically recognizable shapes.

Ivory has long been one of the most prestigious materials ever used for carving. Enjoy the images below which have been gathered from numerous private and public collections. Many of these objects surfaced because the assistance of researchers and educators helping to build this website. Without the support of interested curators some of these incredibly wonderful objects (their first digital images) would have remained hidden in storage for many more years. Much thanks for the help of these kind individuals.


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