Ivory Identification – A Photographic Reference Guide

Bobby Mann with the center nerve from a Narwhal TuskWilliam R. Mann “Bobby”, is a Graduate Gemologist, GG (GIA) (1982) and a Professional Gemologist, PG (Columbia School of Gemology (1983). Bobby provided a fun-filled evening with a power point presentation of his Ivory Identification – A Photographic Reference Guide.

Book review of Ivory Identification, a Photographic Reference Guide
Authored by William R. (Bobby) Mann & Charles M. Marts (2012)
by Norman L. Sandfield on January 3, 2013

You, too, can learn to identify the various kinds of ivory that exist in many antiques, jewelry, and art forms! Correctly identifying and distinguishing between different types of ivory (teeth, tusks, etc.) and ivory look-alikes has always been considered a complex, often even frustrating, issue for collectors and dealers alike. Fortunately, it can be taught and learned, given the right visual tools.

Bobby Mann has one of the largest collections of ivories put together for educational purposes: raw materials, sliced materials, carved objects, and fakes of all kinds, which are the highlights of this book. These hundreds of items have been the basis of his comprehensive Ivory Identification Workshops for more than ten years. This simple and straight-forward 20-page book with more than 100 photographs illustrates the key elements in identifying the most common ivories.

Materials covered include: elephant, mammoth, walrus, hippopotamus, whale, narwhal,
warthog, boar, seal teeth, elk teeth, bone, antler, palm nuts, hornbill, Meerschaum, and plastic and polymer resins.

The authors start with “How to Examine Ivory” and provide a list of “Suggested Tools.” Color photographs of raw and carved objects, are accompanied by the text listing the key elements in identifying each.

The previous standard in the field was:
Thomas Kenneth Penniman (1895- ), Pictures of Ivory and Other Animal Teeth, Bone
and Antler; With a Brief Commentary on Their Use in Identification. Occasional Papers
on Technology, #5. 1952, 1984, Oxford, England: Pitt Rivers Museum, University of
Oxford. Paperbound; 40 pages; plus 20 black and white plates with 48 photographs.

This new book is much better because of the color photographs and printing technology now available. The only tool mentioned that most readers will not have at hand is a long-wave UV (Ultraviolet) lamp, which is available online starting at about $90. However, the photographs in the books will satisfy most readers in all but the most rare situations, without the need for a UV lamp.

This guide is Book 1 in a series of Ivory Identification Books. For those specialists who want or need to know even more, two additional in-depth books are in the process of being written by the authors:

Book 2: “Ivory Identification – A Photographic Companion” will be approximately 90 pages and deal more in depth with all the Ivory, substitutes and imitations covered in the Ivory
Identification Workshops.

Book 3: “The Complete Ivory Identification Book” will be approximately 400 pages and cover all of the above, in addition to related items from the mammals, such as Elephant teeth & pearl, Whale Baleen, fossilized samples of ivory and more.

The book costs $20 plus shipping, and may be ordered from HP Mag Cloud Publications’
web-site at http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/458047

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