Ivory for violin fittings

August 30, 2018, 12:18 PM · Anywhere I can find bone or faux ivory for violin nuts / fitting accents? Thanks.

Replies (24)

August 30, 2018, 12:25 PM · No elephant should die for your pleasure.
August 30, 2018, 12:28 PM · Gaux with faux, please. At any rate, it's illegal otherwise.
August 30, 2018, 12:48 PM · But Mr.Cotton specifically said "faux" ivory!
August 30, 2018, 1:25 PM · Mammoth and fossil ivory is perfectly legal and humane to use and is used by many violin restorers and bow repairers and makers.
August 30, 2018, 2:00 PM · The problem with bone or mammoth ivory is, it may be legal, but if you travel outside the U.S. (assuming the OP is a U.S. citizen) with your violin, you may encounter TSA agents who aren't particular about the distinction between legal bone/mammoth ivory and elephant ivory. You risk having your instrument destroyed.
Edited: August 30, 2018, 2:34 PM · stewmac.com might have some bone or faux ivory.

lookie here:

https://www.stewmac.com/SiteSearch/?search=bone%20nut

August 30, 2018, 2:56 PM · You might check craigslist for antique mahjong sets or chopsticks, which were oftentimes made with ivory or bone. The modern mahjong sets are commonly made with plastic now, so be careful.
August 30, 2018, 3:21 PM · Antique dominoes?
August 30, 2018, 3:21 PM · That's true. Even with a certificate statement there is still a risk. An acquaintance of mine traveled to Germany and back with her violin which has under the legal limit of 200 grams of ivory and was made before the cutoff date, and with certification papers verifying said status and had no issues except for very thorough inspections. It's still risky.
August 30, 2018, 3:25 PM · Have you considered human bone?
August 30, 2018, 3:37 PM · The real problem is that bone, is bone, is bone,... Short of a DNA analysis it is impossible for some customs agent/inspector to determine if those fittings are bone from any particular animal.

I get the desire for an off-white set of fittings but unless they are clearly plastic some customs agent might end up taking a hammer to everything, plates, ribs, neck, fingerboard, scroll,...

In today's world, it just isn't worth the risk unless having your instrument destroyed doesn't bother you.

August 30, 2018, 3:57 PM · If it were that important, I suppose you could actually have 2 sets of pegs or fittings, one with whatever you desire--norwhal tusks, eagle retinae, panda claws, etc--and another set that you can safely travel with.

As a matter of curiosity, I happen to live right near the national lab that tests animal parts to determine their origin. It's in Ashland, OR.

August 30, 2018, 4:34 PM · LOL "eagle retinae". Beautiful.
August 30, 2018, 5:02 PM · Erik asked: " Have you considered human bone? " ... I sincerely hope not.
August 30, 2018, 8:32 PM · "Erik Williams
August 30, 2018, 3:25 PM · Have you considered human bone?"

Erik, please tell us that you don't play on gut strings!

August 30, 2018, 9:05 PM · I do, Guglielmus, but somehow I always seem to run out of them during the months where most of my students practice. Weird.
August 31, 2018, 9:26 AM · Guitar Parts and More has all the bone, imitation ivory, and fossil ivory you could possibly want. David Werther is located in Ohio I think and will ship anywhere in the US. I'm currently in the process of putting an article together on traveling with ivory. But if you do the proper paperwork and enter the country at specific ports there is no issue traveling with ivory in and out of the US. You should still check with the country you are entering for their regulations. It does become a big issue when selling items internationally or across state lines that contain any kind of ivory, fossil or antique. For example I can't sell a bow that even has fossil ivory in a few US states like New York, Nevada, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois. So I've recently adapted to using things like TipArmor and metal tip plates.
August 31, 2018, 12:04 PM · "Skip F.
August 30, 2018, 1:25 PM · Mammoth and fossil ivory is perfectly legal and humane to use and is used by many violin restorers and bow repairers and makers."

Mastodon is illegal in New York, New Jersy and California. Also, what Anthony said.

If you are traveling, anything that looks like Ivory is at risk. They can confiscate your item and make you pay the $500 charge for testing and showing that it isn't Ivory, and there are administrative fees, as well.

I'd suggest Bone if you must, Stew-Mac and David Warther should have you covered.

August 31, 2018, 12:15 PM · How about something like coral?
August 31, 2018, 1:19 PM · I don't get it guys, we've trialed many bows with mastodon head plates from folks in a couple of these states.
August 31, 2018, 1:45 PM · Duane wrote:
"Mastodon is illegal in New York, New Jersy and California. Also, what Anthony said.

If you are traveling, anything that looks like Ivory is at risk. They can confiscate your item and make you pay the $500 charge for testing and showing that it isn't Ivory, and there are administrative fees, as well.
_______________________________

I totally agree. There can also be problems with anything resembling rosewood. Ebony might be next.

September 14, 2018, 2:43 PM · Mastdon, mammoth, and current elephant ivory can be distinguished by the degree of angle of the natural grain of the "Schrager Lines." Les than 90 degrees is an extinct mammoth or mastodon. More than 90 degrees (usual SIGNIFICANTLY greater) is modern elephant. The problem is TSA agents and Customs agents usually don't know the difference, and usually could care less about the difference. Because of this, the state pf California has banned ALL ivory (extinct and extant).
September 14, 2018, 4:26 PM · Schreger Lines: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schreger_line
Edited: September 16, 2018, 2:52 AM · Buying bone blanks for guitar saddles and nuts is easy. I haven't bought any for a while, so I don't have a link, and it would be a British one, anyway. You should be able to find plenty of luthiers in America who can help.

Yep - there's plenty of stuff on Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bone+blanks

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Violin Finder
Yamaha Violin Finder

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Warchal Strings
Warchal Strings

Lisus Violins
Lisus Violins

Dimitri Musafia
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Gliga Violins
Gliga Violins

Metzler Violin Shop

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pluhar Violins

Potter Violins

Pro-Am Strings Ltd

Violin Lab

Violin Pros

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop

Subscribe