Elk Ivory: Pearls of the West

October 26, 2018


Elk ivory surprisingly makes for some impressive jewelry, resembling tinted versions of pearls and gems once refined. It might seem unusual to most, but sporting an elk tooth on necklaces and earrings has become another way for hunters to display their trophy of a memorable hunt. Rather than brandish an elk head over a living room coffee table some opt for this method of a more discreet and polished version of a hunter’s nostalgia. Elk actually do have tusks.

Also called whistlers and buglers, the front canine teeth of the elk are indeed made up of the same chemical composition of other more recognizable tusked mammals like elephants, rhino’s and the like. Not seeing the resemblance? Well if you go back some million years you might. As it was once believed that in ages past the now thumb sized teeth in the upper jaws of elk once protruded out of the animal’s mouth and were used as fighting tusks. As reported by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Montana Outdoors, “the canines of the teeth regressed” as evolution took its course, and a larger set of antlers evolved into the burly mammal’s weapon of choice.

In our store, we represent an artisan who exclusively creates Elk Ivory pendants, earrings and rings. Meet Kyndall Swanz - a Montanan that comes from a family of hunters. 

"When I started silversmithing, my husband gave me some elk ivory to work with and it took some time to get the hang of cutting it the right way.  I have some pretty funny stories about dodging flying ivory!"

I love working ivory and sterling silver together to create really different kinds of jewelry."  Check out the Kyndall Swanz collection.

Whether you’re looking for a unique, subtle way to show off your Montana pride, or a memento from last seasons hunt, look no further; these western pearls are sure to provoke conversation, and intrigue from all those you meet. 

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