Skip to content

All about jewelry news

Ivory : Between rarity and prohibition

by Julie MIALET 03 Jan 2022

Ivory, an increasingly rare material!

Used for many centuries for the manufacture of magnificent objects, ivory was marketed very early on... Statues, jewelry and everyday objects such as cases, tobacco boxes or compacts etc...

From a gemological point of view, ivory is considered a hard, resistant, opaque white organic material that mainly constitutes the teeth and tusks of certain animals such as the elephant, hippopotamus, walrus and others. Again…

Van Cleef & Arpels long necklace in ivory, carnelian, diamonds and 18 carat yellow gold

To qualify materials derived from animals or animal secretions, we speak of organic matter (let us mention horn, jet, bone, coral, pearl, mother-of-pearl, amber) as opposed to crystallized materials which constitute the majority of gems (sapphires, rubies, emeralds, diamonds).

Unfortunately, this intense commercialization has led to the disappearance or risk of extinction of certain species, such as the elephant of course, which explains the development of laws in many countries to preserve the different animal species.

Since 1is July 1975 French and European legislation purely and simply prohibits the marketing of raw ivory. The ban is categorical, it also prohibits the marketing of any ivory worked or dated after 1is July 1975.

France has thus signed a convention controlling and regulating the international trade in species of wild fauna and flora threatened with extinction called CITES.

Exceptions to these prohibitions are ivory objects manufactured between 3 March 1947 and 1is July 1975. So if you want to export ivory outside the European Union, you must obtain a CITES export certificate.

To sum up, an ivory object can only be sold if its holder can prove that it was made before July 1, 1975, and subject to having obtained a CITES certificate (the intra-EU CIC certificate) issued by an approved expert. .

David Webb earrings from the 70s in ivory, sapphires, rubies, emeralds and 18 carat yellow gold

On the other hand, these certificates will only be issued for worked objects because the trade and use of raw ivory remains strictly prohibited regardless of their age.

This is why calling on experts could be useful for you to find out whether or not your object can be resold.

Cartier Art Deco box in ivory, emerald and lapis lazuli, 1929

The question we can now ask ourselves is: How to recognize ivory?

Its main features are:

  • Its weight because of its impressive density
  • Its smooth touch
  • Its shiny appearance
  • Its heat resistance, it can withstand a heated needle without deteriorating

Bracelet in ivory, semi-precious stones and 18-carat yellow gold

And The ivory substitutes which are:

  • The bone that will have an irregular appearance
  • Vegetable ivory (corozo or tagua) which is used to make jewelry, piano keys, cutlery, buttons or even decorative objects. This vegetable ivory comes from the flowering of the ivory palm which grows in Central America and Africa. The fruit of this tree is called the caryopsis.
  • Celluloid is also widely used for the manufacture of tennis balls. It is a type of plastic whose production of objects began in 1873. It is therefore possible to find old objects in celluloid.
  • The resin strong enough to create durable objects. It is ideal for making statues, the finishes and details can be very clean.


Attention ! Ivory is not an alternative to ivory. It is made of agglomerated ivory powder. It is strictly prohibited for sale.

Ivory and onyx necklace

To conclude we can say that ivory has become a rare and very precious material!

We are of course available for any free expertise of your ivory jewelry, for this you can send an email with your photos to

Welcome to our shop in the Swiss village of 15th Parisian district!

18 carat yellow gold ivory long necklace

Whether you're interested in buying a piece of jewellery or a stone, a free jewelry appraisal or jewelry resale, Pierres de Julie welcomes you to its Parisian boutique in the Village Suisse, a stone's throw from the Ecole Militaire and the Esplanade des Invalides.

Prev Post
Next Post

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Back In Stock Notification
Terms & Conditions
The present General Conditions of Use are up to date on November the 5th 2022

> Read the GCU
this is just a warning