Traditionally, elephant tusks were the primary source for ivory. Since this kind of ivory is banned and heavily regulated across the world, today's ivory is derived from teeth or tusks from animals like walruses, hippopotamuses, boars and sperm whales. Before plastics, ivory was used to make many things such as piano keys and billiard balls. Today, ivory is still used for decorative art and jewelry. Jewelry that is made from ivory may need to be cleaned occasionally and can be lightly cleaned in your home.

Take care of your ivory jewelry properly. Keep your ivory jewelry away from moist places like bathrooms. Instead, store your ivory jewelry in your jewelry box or soft jewelry pouches. Do not to touch the ivory with your hands since it is a porous material that will soak in your natural body oils.

Dust your ivory jewelry with a soft, fine-tipped paintbrush. Wear cotton gloves while handling the ivory.

Use a white vinyl eraser to gently erase any dirt, dust or grime that gets on your ivory jewelry. Again, use cotton gloves while handling the ivory.

Dampen a soft, lint-free cloth with warm water and gently wipe your ivory jewelry. You can use flannel or a cloth that you would clean your eyeglasses with. Do not use soap or any other household products.

Take your ivory jewelry to a professional jeweler to clean. If these steps do not work, there is nothing else you can do without compromising the integrity of your ivory jewelry, especially if it is an antique.

About the Author

Melissa Lewis

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.