"Green" Ivory? Does it exist?

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For centuries, ivory was a symbol of elegance, sophistication and beauty. Many valuable pieces of art and jewelry were made of ivory, in appreciation of its unique, warm shade and luster. Unfortunately, nobody cared too much about the magnificence of the slaughtered elephants. In today’s world, ivory is only to be found in museums or antique stores, where its beauty and artistic glamour are still mesmerizing.

How to bring back a reflection of the ivory charm to the 21st century? Certainly not with the real ivory – this is out of question. Sometimes polymer clays are used to replace the ivory in artistic projects. Polymer clays, such as Sculpey are easy and convenient to use, however the touch and look (particularly the luster) of ivory is rather difficult to reproduce with the polymer clays. Polymer clays have actually nothing to do with natural clays and are made of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This common polymer is a petroleum derivative, which has plenty of uses in household products. To make it pliable, PVC has to be however modified with plasticizers. Among these plasticizers are phthalate esters, a type of chemical which has been shown to be harmful and has been banned in many countries in recent years. While the polymer clays manufacturers are trying to respond to the bans by changing their formulations, it does not answer the question of a “green” ivory – biodegradable and sustainable.

At Green Crafts, we have developed a “Faux Ivory” formulation that is plant-derived and without any synthetic petrochemicals. Its natural ivory shade comes from a mineral base. Through molding, even the most precise details of the artistic pieces can be created, giving a surprisingly believable impression of ivory.

Look at this example – a miniature of the traditional Chinese Guardian Lion. The miniature is only 1 inch high, with very precise ornamentation that has been recreated with the use of the “faux ivory”. A grain of rice is shown for the size comparison.

Another example of “faux ivory” shows a miniature skull – an inspirational “to be or not to be” piece, which was said to help aspiring writers.