Ancient Mastodon Lives On in Custom Necklace


Handcarved Sterling Lovebirds Pendant by Owen Walker with Blue Russian and Mastodon Beads

Owen Walker’s Lovebirds Pendant with Blue Russian and Mastodon Beads TBA24



Walker Goldsmiths was able to buy some beautiful Mastodon Ivory Beads from a trader a while back so I decided to use them to create a Custom Trade Bead Necklace.  The Mastodon Ivory came from ancient tusks unearthed by erosion  in Russian Siberia.

I’ve always been crazy about Mastodon Ivory. The Ivory can be found in so many gorgeous colors because of the minerals in which it’s buried and also because it’s so very old. When Owen and I started out in our jewelry adventure back in 1970, I did scrimshaw on Ivory and Owen set it in Silver. To “scrimshaw”on Mastodon Ivory is a dream. The density and integrity of the ivory is magnificent. Colorful, dense, fine grained, and reeking with history.

Scrimshaw is the name given to scrollwork, engravings, and carvings done on bone or ivory”. Check out Google or click here for more information on just what is scrimshaw.

Seattle, WA has just unearthed a huge Mastodon Tusk. An amazing experience that’s it’s got me thinking about the incredible beauty of Mastodon Ivory.

Seattle paleontologists Friday, Feb,14, 2014, safely removed the largest fossilized mammoth tusk discovered in the region from a construction site, according to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. The fossil is probably a tusk from a Columbian mammoth, or Mammuthus Columbii, which was designated the Washington state fossil in 1998, according to a statement on the museum website.                                                                

Mastodon Tusk found in construction site in Seattle, WA

Seattle, WA Mastodon Tusk found

The tusk, 8 feet 6 inches long, appears to be the most intact and largest discovered in Seattle. The fossil was found about 7 feet below an apartment development site, the statement said. Burke paleontologists estimate that the tusk is at least 16,000 years old, but could be up to 60,000 years old.” 

The colors of Blue Russian Trade Beads and Mastodon Ivory blend and complement each other so well. I also used Fossil Walrus Ivory Beads in the necklace to keep the cost down and lend an ambiance and history to the piece. Eskimo and Aleut hunters traded Walrus Ivory south to other native tribes where it was a highly valued trade article. Owen Walker’s handcarved Sterling Lovebirds pendant is the centerpiece on this necklace.

TBA24, Lovebirds Necklace with Mastodon and Walrus Ivory Beads. 20 inches in length. Sterling Silver Lovebirds Pendant, handcarved by Owen Walker.




About Janet Walker

4 Responses to “Ancient Mastodon Lives On in Custom Necklace”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Sue Rhoades Johnson says:

    Finally took the time to check out your wares & they are beautiful! The “Blues” & Mastodon Ivory are wonderful together. I have no ivory, but, Blues – yes. I try to use them very sparingly. Thanks for sharing your talent!

    • Janet Walker says:

      Thanks, Sue! I’ve always enjoyed the incredible personality of trade beads and the Russian Blues are phenomenal. Discovering and researching the history of their making and the whole delivery system into the NW has been really fun! Thanks for enjoying them too!

  2. Tim slay says:

    My wife has a necklace, bracelet & earring set that her great grandfather bought in Alaska in the 1950s. There are flowers on all pieces and inlaid with gold. There is a pice of paperwork stating that the ivory is mastodon and the gold was mined in Alaska. Could I send a photo to see if you are familiar with this set, and what if any value that it might be. We are thinking of selling it, but starting to learn about the restrictions on ivory

    • Janet Walker says:

      Hi Tim, Lucky her! Old family pieces are a treasure. First, there are NO Restrictions on Mastodon Ivory – only on NEW Elephant and Walrus Ivory. So no worries. And as far as value—- It’s whatever the market will bear. My suggestion is to get on Ebay and see if anyone has anything like it for sale and that should give you a ball park idea. Depends on how much gold, what karat and if it’s really gold – but you said that you have paperwork (provenance) and that helps. Of Course, I say just wear it a lot, enjoy and let people know it’s for sale!! Got children? If you do, you have an heirloom piece for them. I would love to see a picture. Please send me one to [email protected]

Leave A Comment...