Ivory Dominos: How Can I Safely Clean Them?

by Leslie Hirschberg.
(California USA)

stock_dominoesI found some old dominoes at an antique shop.

I think they are ivory with black or red dots.

Does anyone know how they can be cleaned?

Leslie Hirschberg
Brewster beads

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  1. Mary Anne Enriquez says:

    Some clarification is needed on what is Ivory. Walrus, and hippo tusks are considered ivory as well as Elephant. to see if you have real elephant ivory…and not the common bone so many items have always been made out of…take a good look under a magnifying glass. Does your “ivory” have fine lines of stripping? There is a lot of info online….muc of what I have seen called ivory is cattle bone, bakelite, or tacqua nut (“vegetable ivory” )from south American Rain forests.) or even plain old cheap plastic!
    This article is a little involved but a fine starting point .

    You can wipe both bone and ivory with a damp cloth to clean. Just dry it very well immediately. I would test the stability of the black dots with a Q-tip first before moistening the domino. The dye, paint, or ink might be unstable. If the markings a burned into the domino, you can wipe.

    Patina is very much admired in old ivory. Don’t try to make it white. Ivory yellows and its a wonderful color. I own several pieces of antique ivory – elephant as well as fossilized Mammoth; tacqua nut “vegetable ivory”, bone, and bakelite. Its a fascinating subject!

    Keep ivory, bakelite, bone, and tacqua nut away from moisture, and heat. if its worn on your skin, wipe off after use. The oils from your body are not good. I wear them over clothing.

  2. They say to keep ivory in the light & if it needs cleaning to use 2parts lemon to equal filtered H2o. Now since ivory is tusk of a elephant or bone why couldn’t a tooth gel with whitening agents be used as well ?

  3. Mary Anne says:

    I guess I am wondering why you would want to whiten it, and use an abrasive on it also. Tooth pastes are abrasive. How yellow are the dominos? The toothpaste might interact unfavorably with the ebony wood inlaid dots. You do not want the wood to get moist.

    I do not keep my ivory in the light. The necklace I bought is kept in its original box. It’s a lovely off white color.

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