Is it about time you own an ivory chess set? It is not something everyone else would dream about, leave alone buying one. However, do you know that purchasing an ivory chess set is like treading through a minefield?
I have heard true stories of people who bought goat and hyena bone chess sets thinking it was ivory. Don’t laugh; this could have been you. And for the outlay that a mammoth chess set requires, this isn't something you want to mess up.
Fortunately, you are here, and it means you are about to learn how to navigate the tricky map of buying the best ivory chess sets. Our first goal is making sure you only purchase legal ivory. The law can come down on you hard if you get your fingers into the illegal ivory business.
To your relief, this guide is all you need. In it, I will share with you legal and ethical sources of ivory as well as how to make sure you get the real deal. After all, you are spending a fortune, and you would be damned if all you end up getting are useless hyena bones. So, how about reading this guide to the last sentence and make a decision you will never regret? Let’s now get to it from the very top.
Most people would be down with the idea of owning an ivory chess set. Unknown to many, the realization of that dream is closer home than you may think. The much talked about ban on ivory trade has convinced people that it is only a wild dream to ever think of owing an ivory chess set. From where I sit, that’s not true. As long as you can certify the source of ivory to be legal, owning an ivory chess set need not be a dream. Lucky for you, there is still an open door to buy ivory legally. However, the door of that opportunity may slowly be closing due to high demand and the limited supply. I will be sharing with you about that door shortly.
The first question that comes to mind: Is this source of ivory legal and ethical? Over 40,000 years ago, wooly mammoths used to be part of the ecosystem of Siberia. As fate would have it, these mammoths became extinct and their skeletons buried into the ground. The Siberian landscape has a lot of these skeletons. How many? Nobody knows exactly, but you can take to the bank the fact they are not unlimited. It is not slefish to want to get your ivory bone chess set right now before the sources are depleted or a universal ban comes into force, whichever comes first.
To a large extent, ivory from wooly mammoths is pretty legal. However, some US states are working to effect bans. For instance, California has successfully passed a bill banning mammoth ivory. Scores of other states are in advanced stages in passing similar legislation. It is not all gloomy for all states. Alaska is a good example where legislation is in force to exempt wooly mammoth ivory from any looming ban. If you don't where your state or country stand on this, check the local laws before you decide to buy a mammoth ivory chess set.
However, we are sure about one thing. Legislations banning any type of ivory are going to come down hard. It may not be this year or the next, but it will come finally. Instead of living in uncertainty, why not buy your ivory set today?
I’m the typical type that calls a spade by its name, and not a big spoon. Ivory is extremely rare. It is the most luxurious material for making chess sets. To add an insult to an injury, wooly mammoth ivory is the rarest of them all. Why? Its availability is limited, and it is only a matter of time until the last skeleton is dug up. All of this comes to one conclusion: ivory sets sell at exorbitant price tags. Consequently, it is only the filthy rich who can afford them. Again, I’m sorry because there is nothing like a budget ivory chess set. The least you can expect to cough up is a dozen of thousand dollars to bring one home. So you had better pay attention when I say it is time you buy one before your dream flies away through the window, never to come back.
The Best Ivory Set
The Mammoth Ivory Collector’s Luxury Series Chess Set
The Mammoth Ivory-Genuine Ebony Wood Collector’s Luxury Series Chess Set
This set is 100% made from mammoth ivory. It is not every day you come across such a piece of art. It is rare and equally luxurious. In fact, in all my reviews, this is the best chess set I have ever come across. I think, and many others do, this all-mammoth ivory chess set tops the charts of quality and price.
As proof that your money is not going down the drain when you order, the set comes with an authenticity certificate. That is not all; it also comes with a specific identification number and a registered plaque. What more would you want to confirm that this is legit ivory?
Interestingly, each set is customized to individual preferences and needs. It means you make an order with your specifications. You end up getting 100% unique antique ivory chess set that no one else can have.
It is the chessmen that take the medal for beauty and natural appearance. They are 34 and all made from ivory. Their perfect shapes, grooves, and veins are hand-carved and treated to a sleek finish. Half side of the army is white, while the other is shining black.
As the master artisans carve them, they make sure each piece is weighted to stand on its own. When playing, you can feel the natural weight at the base that you can never get from any other material. The pieces can easily balance on their own, and that is one reason seasoned chess players seek them.
To keep your soldiers protected, the order will come with a unique chess box. The box's interior is partitioned into small compartments for each piece. When you are not playing, all your troops can pull back into the box and be safe. A few years from now, this premium ivory chess set may not be legal anymore. Therefore, you would want to keep it in perfect shape since you may never have the chance to replace it.
This set does not come with a chessboard. However, if you need one, make an order for an extra fee. And really, if you're forking out a fortune for some chessmen, buying a board to go with it is hardly an issue.
The Mammoth Ivory Collector’s Luxury Series Chess Set
This is another luxurious set from the same manufacturer of our number one ivory set. The good news about this big boy’s toy is that it is relatively cheaper. However, that does not make it less appealing and luxurious. If you are about to get worried about its quality and authenticity, your fears are misplaced. It comes in the company of a certificate of authenticity and origin, a unique identification number, and registered plaque. All these give you an assurance that the ivory is legally and ethically sourced. Besides, this set is made by a reputable seller who has earned global fame for the best chess sets. From us, we urge you to buy from this seller because you get value for your money and ivory that is legit.
The chessmen are the focal points on this set. They are hand-carved into shapes inspired by nature. You will also see the signature Staunton pattern on the set. The seasoned artisans only use the highest quality ivory and ebony wood. The white army is carved from ivory, while the black legion is from ebony. Even with an eye for detail, you cannot tell the difference. The ivory pieces are naturally weighted. Conversely, the ebony pieces have added weight for easy balancing. In total, the two armies are made up of 34 pieces with four queens: two for each side.
This mammoth ivory and ebony wood set is the most affordable in this niche. Yes, you are not getting entirely ivory armies; but nobody will point out the difference. Both sides of the armies are skillfully carved and finished to such extent that you cannot tell a single difference.
We are not sure how long this set is going to be legal. If you desire to have a luxurious chess set, it is time you make your move while the window is open. It might be the last time I’m reviewing this ivory-cum-ebony chess set. Don’t wait, buy today from the reputable seller and be on the right side of history.
The Mammoth Ivory-Genuine Ebony Wood Collector’s Luxury Series Chess Set
The chain of supply for mammoth ivory begins in Russia. During summer, June to September, locals in their thousands go to the Tundra of the northern Siberia. It is the perfect time when the ice thaws thus exposing the skeletons of the long-dead and extinct mammoths.
The locals must have permits for this exercise. They collect as many tusks as they can during the hot season. The tusks are then exported to Asia, the Americas, the Rest of Europe, and finally to the entire world. Verified sources believe that there may be over 150 million skeletons of wooly mammoths buried deep into the Tundra of Siberia.
While the collection and trade for mammoth ivory have been taking place for thousands of years, it is only recently that demand surged. Hong Kong is the nerve center of the trade. In 2000, about 5 tons of the tusks were exported from Russia. This number increased to 46.2 tons in 2007. You are right; the figure keeps growing each year. How long will the supply keep coming? No one knows. We can only advise you to buy your mammoth ivory chess set now from our two reviewed options before it is too late.
It is not everyone who can work on mammoth ivory to bring out its beauty. That is why the making of ivory chess sets is the work of selected few. We are talking of artisans who have worked on tons of ivory, shaping it into different shapes and items. Just you know; all ivory chess pieces are hand-carved. The artisans get specifications from customers and begin to work on them. It is a procedure requiring patience and mastery. Most of the times, the pieces are carved into nature-inspired shapes.
Nevertheless, you can ask yours to be carved to whatever you need. Once the carving is complete, the pieces get to the phase of smoothening. Afterward, finishing follows up according to buyer’s preferences. Since each set is carved and styled based on each buyer’s preferences, it is almost impossible to find two sets that look the same.
Before you open your wallet to buy an ivory chess set, here are questions you should ask and get answers for;
You do not want to have blood on your hands, right? You should ask and verify if the ivory is ethically and legally sourced. How? The seller should give you a certificate of origin and any other relevant official document to prove the same.
Due to the high demand for ivory and the stringent sourcing regulations, some business people take this opportunity to dupe ignorant buyers. They can be selling chess sets made from domesticated animal bones. It is advisable to purchase your collection from a reputable seller. Buy from the seller of our two reviewed sets, and you will get a certificate of authenticity, identification number, and a printed plaque. Any seller who doesn’t offer all these is a scammer, and you should run away from them.
As with all antiques, age is an essential consideration. For instance, an ivory set 300 years old is more valuable than a 100-year old set. The older it is, the more it will cost.
There are lots of scammers out there. They will sell you sheep bones in the name of ivory. Do not take such a risk. Only buy your set from a reputable seller like the one featured in our reviews.
Ivory chess sets come in two categories. One, the pieces are all made from ivory. Our number one review is such a set. Two, the set is a combination of two materials. Our second review is made of ivory and ebony. The latter is relatively affordable but still has the luxury and unique edge.
Yes, an ivory chess set is an investment you will not regret. Its value keeps getting higher. With limited supply and looming government bans, your set’s value can blow up the ceiling.
There is no denying that the demand for ivory keeps going high each day and yet mammoth ivory is a limited resource. One day we will wake up and no more wooly mammoth ivory will be available. Another threat is the ban on mammoth ivory. Again, the future of ivory may not be so bright a few years from now. If you have always had a dream to own an ivory chess set, you do not have much time left. The time is now or never. Make up your mind fast and buy one of our reviewed collections. I can guarantee you the best ivory and competitive prices for either of the sets.
Ivory chess sets are in their league in terms of price. You need to be in the Forbes rich list to purchase one (not really true). Nevertheless, it is worth to invest in one of these sets. If you are looking for a set that has it all, the mammoth Ivory collector’s luxury set is the way to go. It is stylish and luxurious. For those feeling a bit low on finances, go for the ivory and ebony luxurious chess set. It is equally elegant, but a little bit affordable.
Our favorite chess sets and gear that we fully recommend