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Ebay Restricts Selling of Vintage Bone & Horn Jewelry

I listed two vintage necklaces today on eBay, both about 30 years old. Both necklaces had some old generic bone beads on them. Almost immediately, eBay ended the auctions and sent me an email stating that I had violated their policy of selling animal parts which were banned.

I’d already had some auctions ended last month because they were made with vintage ivory. Ebay has now basically banned all sales of ivory, even if it’s old. Of course, I learn about this policy by getting into “trouble” with eBay because I’m not aware of their new ban. Ebay has lowered their rating of my compliance with their policies……………..

After much discussion with eBay about bone, I found that it’s still OK to sell vintage bone jewelry. But eBay’s guidelines say that you should clearly state in the listing title the origin of the bone and make sure that the bone did not come from the endangered species list. In addition, you should also cover the origin of the bone in your listing text too.

I have no problem with eBay banning the sales of products made from endangered animals. I totally support it. However, I hate eBay’s lack of communication and employees who aren’t even sure of the policy. Ebay’s written policy is very vague and gives THEM a lot of wiggle room to make arbitrary decisions on what’s allowed or not. On top of that, there are hundreds of eBay auctions going on right now featuring bone jewelry that doesn’t comply with their new standards.

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Boho Ivory & Bone Jewelry — How To Identify Ivory?

Went to a local antique store today, looking for jewelry. I ended up buying a ton of bohemian style ivory, amber, bone & horn pieces. Most will end up on my web site since eBay has now banned ivory from listings.

How can you identify ivory versus bone?

Ivory normally has a finer appearance than bone. It will have fewer marks and striations in the material. Sometimes with bone you can see with the naked eye some cracks, black lines, pits, etc. See the lines in the bone on the bottom bangle? Ivory would not have these lines.

If you look at ivory with a loupe, it may show a slight grain or cross-hatching in the material on back.

There is a “hot pin test” for ivory. True ivory is virtually impenetrable with heat and so will not be damaged by this test. Take a needle or a straightened-out safety pin and heat it until it is red-hot. In an unobtrusive spot on the piece, poke it. If the piece is true ivory, there will not be a hole and there will be a tiny mark. Smell the spot. It should smell like burnt protein (burnt hair). Bone is also resistant to heat, but not as much as ivory. It will not put out the same strong smell as ivory.

Bone is not free of grain and will have little “pock marks” in it where the marrow or blood was. You may have to use a loupe to see these pock marks.

Ivory can yellow over time.