How to Clean Ivory Jewelry

Updated February 21, 2017

Traditionally, elephant tusks were the primary source for ivory. Since this kind of ivory is banned and heavily regulated across the world, today's ivory is derived from teeth or tusks from animals like walruses, hippopotamuses, boars and sperm whales. Before plastics, ivory was used to make many things such as piano keys and billiard balls. Today, ivory is still used for decorative art and jewellery. Jewellery that is made from ivory may need to be cleaned occasionally and can be lightly cleaned in your home.

Take care of your ivory jewellery properly. Keep your ivory jewellery away from moist places like bathrooms. Instead, store your ivory jewellery in your jewellery box or soft jewellery pouches. Do not to touch the ivory with your hands since it is a porous material that will soak in your natural body oils.

Dust your ivory jewellery with a soft, fine-tipped paintbrush. Wear cotton gloves while handling the ivory.

Use a white vinyl eraser to gently erase any dirt, dust or grime that gets on your ivory jewellery. Again, use cotton gloves while handling the ivory.

Dampen a soft, lint-free cloth with warm water and gently wipe your ivory jewellery. You can use flannel or a cloth that you would clean your eyeglasses with. Do not use soap or any other household products.

Take your ivory jewellery to a professional jeweller to clean. If these steps do not work, there is nothing else you can do without compromising the integrity of your ivory jewellery, especially if it is an antique.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft paintbrush
  • Damp lint-free cloth
  • Cotton gloves
  • White vinyl eraser
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About the Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.