Ivory boxes



2015-06-26 11:05:25

Ivory boxes are highly collectible boxes made from ivory. They can range significantly in terms of design, size, era of manufacture and use.

Due to the relative scarcity and cost of ivory, the boxes are often small. Ivory boxes can be employed for a range of functions, including the storage of jewellery and snuff.

The highly decorative nature of many ivory boxes ensures that they are often employed simply as ornamental items.


Until recently, ivory had been a highly desirable commodity for more than 2,000 years. Ivory from African elephants, which is easier to carve than that of the Indian elephant, was most often utilised in the creation of ivory pieces.

The purchase of ivory is today highly controversial. It is illegal in all countries for an elephant to be killed for its tusks.

Value of ivory boxes

The value of ivory boxes can vary significantly, depending on its size, condition and manufacturer.

A French, gold-lined ivory snuff box and a Russian enamelled pill-box sold for £1,920 at Christie’s London in 2006.

A small, finely carved ivory box from the early Qing dynasty sold for $23,000 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2005.

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