We enjoy using Mammoth ivory and Mammoth tooth for knife handles to give them a very unique look and feel. Ivory has been a highly desirable material amongst knife collectors for ages. Folks have asked, how can you tell it's really ivory or mammoth tooth? Below is some great information I was able to gather from various online resources and summary follows for ways to test ivory you might have to see if it's real. I don't recommend any of these but have been told they work from those that have tried. Be careful not to test in areas you don't want visually affected in case that might be the result:
1 - Examine all sides and the bottom of your piece for a pattern that looks like woodgrain. This pattern is typical of ivory but may or may not be obvious depending on how the piece was cut or carved. Look for color that varies slightly, from creamy white to a yellow-tan or yellow-brown. Bone and plastic reproductions will have no color variation or the variation will be extreme.
2 - Test for faux ivory. Dip a Q-tip in alcohol and rub it on an inconspicuous area to test for paint or varnish being used to give fake ivory an aged look. If your piece has been painted or varnished, it will come off on the Q-tip.
3 - Check the authenticity of ivory using a U.V. light source. Ivory will glow bright-white under ultraviolet light whereas resin or plastics will absorb the light and appear dull.
4 - Determine the type of ivory by examining your piece under a 10x or higher magnifier. Ivory from elephant or mammoth tusks will have fine lines on the surface called "Schreger lines" that form a cross-hatch or diamond pattern. Measure the angles of the Schreger lines with a protractor. Angles less than 90 degrees indicate mammoth ivory; angles above 115 degrees show evidence of elephant ivory. Minuscule circular or oval pits instead of lines indicate your piece is probably bone.
5 - Conduct a "pin test." Heat the end of a pin over a candle or lighter until it is red-hot. Select an inconspicuous spot and press the pin against the surface of the piece. Ivory will be largely unaffected by the pin test, but the hot pin will damage the surface of resin or plastic, producing a melting-plastic smell.