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We've had this lovely Tiffany letter opener for decades and am wondering if anyone's seen one. I couldn't find one in a brief bing search but I think this is a special piece. Sterling an ivory with fleur de lis motif, it's separated at the handle but I think could be easily rejoined to be considered a murder weapon once again!

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What exactly does the marking say? I can't really make it out. This most likely would have been part of a "Desk Set" though, I've never seen this pattern before. It looks rather unusual for Tiffany, which is why I'd like to know the exact marking.

Timely reply: Tiffany & co, sterling and I'd have to dig t out to see any other marks on it.

How do you know it's Ivory?  Did you test it?  Many were made with bone or celluloid. Third word looks like1870 to me, but is blurry. I blew up the pic but it doesn't help much.

Could be bone, celluloid and Tiffany-prob not, but in my medical opinion, the soft texture and hardness suggests ivory. Will have another look at it again though.

To test for ivory heat a needle tip red hot and press into it in a hidden area. If the needle penetrates (makes a tiny hole) IT IS NOT ivory.  If it is ivory the needle will not penetrate or scar/scratch it. 

Will do-bone would not melt either I believe.

Is that how they make scrimshaw?

Hot needle will not penetrate or scratch ivory.  Scrimshaw is on ivory. (walrus,  narwahl or whale).  Scrimshaw is done with a sharp knife, drills and small chisels. 

then they stain it for color?

A stunning art.

Read about it. I was telling you how to test ivory. Don't know much about scrimshaw. Probably used India ink for colors...dunno.


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