Elephant ivory

ivory bracelet
Ivory bracelet
   Ivory is the smooth creamy-white material that makes up the tusks of an elephant. The tusks of other large mammals, such as the hippopotamus and the walrus, are also sometimes called ivory. Ivory is very porous, and each pore contains a waxy substance that helps produce a high polish. Since prehistoric times, ivory has been carved and modeled into decorative and useful objects. Billiard balls, piano keys, chess sets, and buttons are frequently made of ivory.
   In commerce, ivory is classified as hard or soft. Hard ivory is brittle and difficult to cut. It is obtained mostly from Asian elephants. Soft ivory, which is obtained chiefly from African elephants, is easier to cut than hard ivory. It does not readily crack, and it can withstand changes in temperature better than hard ivory can. A single elephant tusk may grow as long as 10 feet and weigh as much as 265 pounds. Such a tusk may yield a slab of ivory 2½ feet long, 6 inches wide, and ¾ inches thick.
   The material commonly called vegetable ivory is actually the hard bony seed of the ivory palm (Phytelephas macrocarpa), a tree native to South America. It is used as a substitute for true ivory in buttons, chess pieces, and other articles.