Ivory jewelry and objets d'art are
part of history for most of us... so much so that I had to look up the oh, so
sophisticated French spelling for art objects.
Ivory jewelry and objets d'art were not the
only - or even primary - uses for ivory. Piano keys, chess sets, billiard balls,
bagpipe horns, pistol grips, knife handles, shoe horns and buttons were more
practical ivory items.
Ivory is dentine, that natural outer covering
of teeth (and tusks).
Ivory comes from elephants, if you query most
people. And that association prompted this article, along with recent news
stories about Zambia and Tanzania asking for international approval to sell
CITES (Convention of International Trade in
Endangered Species) is an international agreement who's purpose is "to
ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not
threaten their survival and it accords varying degrees of protection to more
than 33,000 species of animals and plants."
The African elephant is one of the species
accorded protection. African countries with populations of elephants accumulate
tusks through legitimate activities such as confiscation from poachers and the
occasional herd population control.
Opposition from other CITES members was
overwhelming. They expressed concern that an ivory sale would encourage poaching
and the associated black market.
The proposal by Zambia and Tanzania to
authorize a one-time auction of accumulated elephant ivory was rejected.
Casual observers are mostly unaware that
other sources of ivory exist. The smaller Asian elephant is a source, as are
critters such as the walrus, narwhal, hippopotamus, and even the extinct
mammoth. And lets not forget that unique creature, the warthog!
The walrus isn't much cuter. But what can you
expect from a creature with tusks?
Ivory jewelry and objets d'art ere much more
appealing. Among ivory's practical properties are it's carve-ability,
durability, and color. The brooch photo and close-up of a carved elephant tusk
below are exquisite examples.
Modern plastics have replaced ivory in many
products, no doubt contributing to the well being of African elephants.
Ivory jewelry and objets d'art ere
co-existing with responsible conservation practices by using alternative sources
of tusks and teeth.
A Google search using keywords such as ivory jewelry, ivory carving, or
even narwahl can return some very interesting information.
Gem Industry News...
Economic Indicators... and Mexican Food
Is an economic
recovery underway? I really cannot tell. I see some small signs, but I hope for
Last Friday night my husband and I went out to our neighborhood Mexican Food
restaurant. We found a number of patrons waiting to be seated. To me, this is a
practical, positive sign of an improving economy.
We eat out almost
every Friday night, and for at least a year, we have not encountered waiting
lines. I have talked about this with restaurateurs on several occasions. We all
concur that fewer people eating out at their local restaurants is a sign that
folks are being very cautious with their money.
I'm also seeing other hopeful signs. Last year we began stocking CZ melee
because our jewelry and art customers needed to reduce their costs. We're still
selling a significant amount of CZ melee, but we see the demand for small white
gems (diamonds, sapphires, topaz, and natural zircon) growing again.
From a supply perspective, now is the time to replenish your depleted inventory.
If you have some money to invest in inventory - there are deals to be had.
And you should have some cash. After all, that depleted inventory was sales.
From a sales perspective, gift giving occasions have not disappeared. Birthdays,
anniversaries, and many other reasons to give nice jewelry at a great price just
keep on coming. Your customers (and their friends) need what you offer!
A market where people perceive they should spend less fits right into your