Whale bone, also called "baleen," has been used to create products for human enjoyment more so than as items of necessity. A craft known as "scrimshaw" became a slang term used to identify anything made during the free time of sailors, so many of the items made from whale bone are given this name. Accessory products, as well as clothing and tools, were once made from whale bone, but the endangerment of whales today has made this a less-prominent practice.
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Pieces of jewellery have often been made from whale bones. Charms for necklaces and bracelets, as well as for the tops of rings, are cut into desired shapes from the whale bone. Designs are then carved onto the ivory-coloured surfaces with ink to finish the jewellery pieces.
Whale bone was historically made to provide the sturdy structure for women's corsets. Strips of the bone were used to provide a frame for the undergarments that were worn by women. Pieces of whale bone have also been used to construct the frames for eye glasses.
Small tools, utensils and containers have been made from whale bone. The bone provides a solid material for making tools such as sturdy hammers, sharp cutting blades, and even large club weapons. Spoons, forks and knives were made for culinary use and small hollow boxes with lids were made for holding keepsakes.
Figurines have been constructed from whale bone; many of the ornamental carvings came from the bone teeth of sperm whale, which is known as sea ivory. The teeth were polished and carved; designs were etched into them using ink. Carvings for chess pieces, dice and other small figures were made from whale bones and used for leisure games and decoration.
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