About Antique Scrimshaw

Antique Scrimshaw

 Scrimshaw is recognized as one of the only native American folk arts still being practiced today. It began over 200 years ago and flourished during the Golden Age of Whaling in the mid 1800's. Whaling vessels, fitted out for the long years at sea, set out in search of the great whale and its prized oil. The whaleman was a unique individual, enduring constant danger, working for little pay, and spending years far from home. Yet in his idle hours he created pieces of lasting beauty as gifts for loved ones on his return home. Etching nautical and romantic scenes on the ivory of the whale, he left us enduring evidence of his life at sea.

Today we are re - creating these prized possessions of a bygone era. Our Scrimshaw is as rich in design and color as the history it represents. Totally hand engraved by people on unique talent, we maintain a high standard of excellence reminiscent of those early years. Offering the largest selection in Mammoth and antique walrus ivories, with endless designs, make this truly the finest scrimshaw available today. We also custom sizes/shapes as well as artwork. Inquire about custom work.



Ancient Mammoth Ivory


 The Wooly Mammoth was a large prehistoric creature which roamed the earth over 25,000 years ago. Resembling our modern day elephant they had long shaggy coats and large curved tusks often exceeding ten feet in length. Now extinct the remains are occasionally unearthed in the northern hemispheres with their long ivory tusks in tact. Over the years the ivory has taken on a variety of colors including tans and greys which give it a totally unique grain. Scarce and difficult to work with this ivory makes a truly unique piece of scrimshaw with a history all its own.



How we make it



We start off with a piece of antique ivory. It is then cut into the size needed and the design side is polished.


The design area is then covered with ink. Then the artist hand etches the design into the piece.
The ink is then removed and the piece is touched up. It is then set into whatever finding it was made for.