Speaker: Maggie Campbell Pederson
2 April 2019

Ivory has been carved for 40,000 years and its trade goes back thousands of years. Different cultures worldwide have revered it and it has been widely used for religious carvings. It has also been used for many more commonplace items, from piano keys to dentures. The talk will look at the lure of ivory through the ages, its many and varied uses, and how to recognise ivories from different species, for example elephant, walrus and whale — and their fakes.

The presentation in no way condones the use of ivory today. Ivory is a very emotive subject; however it is part of our world history and culture and, as such, is worth studying. Mention will be made of the current trade bans covering ivories and of the current conservation and poaching situations.

Maggie is President of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain and an Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photography. Her work includes identification of organic gem materials, teaching, writing, and research. She gives lectures and seminars for specialist groups such as gemmologists, auctioneers, museum curators and conservators. She is author of Gem and Ornamental Materials of Organic Origin (2003, reprinted 2010) and Ivory (published 2014) and also the publisher of the online information archive, Organic Gems.