Name that Material – Bobby Mann

Bobby MannWilliam R. Mann “Bobby”, is a Graduate Gemologist, GG (GIA) (1982) and a Professional Gemologist, PG (Columbia School of Gemology (1983).

A collector of unusual Ivories, Bobby provided a fun-filled evening with 150 Mystery materials used in jewelry making.

The first hour of the meeting was used to demonstrate How to Use a Refractometer. Participants were given an opportunity to do Hands-On with different gemstones and the refractometer. Thanks go out to Lynne Karson for providing the refractometer.

How to Use a Refractometer

The many boxes of jewelry, carvings, combs, etc. with 150 Mystery materials used in jewelry making, provided the audience hands-on experience identifying the many different jewelry materials.

Mystery Material Box

Mystery Material Box

As a co-founder of the International Ivory Society his knowledge and passion about the
subject materials was on full display as his numerous fun facts and anecdotes about the
different materials used in jewelry.

Chapter members and guests had a chance to play detective using visual clues, loops, and
LWUV to evaluate and identify all the different materials. From different ivories including
natural Elephant Tusk, Mammoth Tusk, Walrus Tusk, Hippopotamus Teeth, Sperm Whale Teeth, Narwhal Tusk, Wart Hog Tusk, and Boar Tusk, mixed with their natural ivory substitutes – Bone, Antler, Vegetable Ivory, Hornbill Ivory, Shell, Coral, and Meerschaum. Together with Amber, Tortoise, Onyx, Camel Teeth, Shark Skin and manufactured ivory substitutes – such as celluloid and polymer-plastics.

Mistery Items Box 2 of 15

Mistery Items Box 2 of 15

Analyzing the specimens under 10x magnification, the entire audience was really tested when we all had to actually view all the specimens to try to identify the different types.
Identifying some of the materials was a real challenge for most of the audience, who had  fun doing it. 

Spending the evening with a true expert such as Bobby Mann was a great opportunity
for all the participants to learn even more about many of the unusual materials they will come across in the jewelry trade. All in all it was truly a fun-filled evening with lot of learning.

Stay Tuned for the release of a 20 Page Booklet : Ivory Identification – A Photographic Reference Guide being written and published by Booby Mann. This is the first in a series of larger books covering Ivory Identification.

Summary & Photos by Charlie Marts


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