Ivory nut

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The hard, cream-color seed of the ivory palm, Phytelephas macrocarpa, found in Peru and Brazil. The ivory nut resembles true ivory in appearance and hardness, but it has a fibrous microscopic structure. It is white when fresh but darkens with age. Ivory nuts were used for small carved items, buttons, cane heads, and Japanese netsuke.

Synonyms and Related Terms

vegetable ivory; coroza nut; palm nut

Other Properties

UV fluorescence is slightly orange.

Additional Information

J.Thornton,"The Structure of Ivory and Ivory Substitutes", AIC Preprints, Philadelphia, 1981, p.173-181

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: F.Minney, "Ivory"
  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986