Mammoth tusks: mining, products
Mammoth tusks are fairly common finds in Siberia and Yakutia. Due to the high demand for them, many residents are engaged in their mining, despite the burden of work.
These are large mammals, externally similar to elephants and representing the same family, but much larger than them. Another significant difference of the mammoths was that they were covered with thick and long hair. According to scientists, their growth sometimes exceeded five meters, and the weight was about a dozen tons. Mammoth tusks, photos of which can be seen below, were quite comparable to the size of their owners.
Thus, the longest of all those found in Russia weighed more than 100 kg, and its length was about 4.5 m. The diameter of such a tusk can be about 18 cm. The weight of an average tusk is about 50–60 kg.
Why mammoths disappeared
In connection with the sharp warming, glaciers began to melt rapidly. This led to the flooding of the places where the mammoths lived. Thus, many of them died of starvation, being cut off from the mainland. The largest herds were concentrated in the northern part of Siberia.Therefore, it is here that the largest number of their remains rests.
About the fishery
Mammoth tusks, which can be buried in Russia up to 60 tons, and according to some information, they are much more, it is very difficult to mine. The remains of animals are in hard to reach places. They often have to be lifted from the bottom of the lakes, pulled out of the marshes. Sometimes the miners spend several days to extract the desired prey. It happens that people are lucky, their tusks are found on the banks of rivers or in ravines. This material has great value, which is comparable to amber and pearls. In addition, the bone by its strength also resembles the named natural precious materials. Since the tusk has plasticity and beauty, its products are sometimes very expensive, valuing in some cases millions of dollars.
For researchers, the location of the remains of giants is important from a scientific point of view. They provide more information about the climate, animals and plants of those periods, so the illegal mining of tusks is detrimental to scientific work. One of the goals is to recreate the mammoth by cloning it.But unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to find a suitable biomaterial.
How profitable is the business?
In ancient times, Siberians were famous for their ability to create real works of art from the tusk of a mammoth. Moreover, due to the size of the source material it could be truly large-scale work. But the carvers were not limited to gigantic works, they could also offer skillfully carved small statuettes, chess pieces, jewelry boxes, hairbrushes. Objects performed not only decorative functions, but also used in everyday life. For example, the mammoth tusk pipe was a beautiful and functional musical instrument.
By the middle of the last century, the number of carvers seriously decreased. Today it is quite difficult to find masters.
Now the extraction of bone is associated with its implementation abroad, the predominant market is China, where the demand for this unique material is unusually high. There are very popular products from the mammoth tusk. And the art of creating unusual works from this material is one of the revered traditions that are not only not forgotten, but continue to evolve.Virtually all mined material is sold illegally. The explanation for this lies on the surface - there is a stable demand with a good price. Thus, according to experts, the cost of this material in the Russian black market is tens and sometimes hundreds of times lower than in neighboring China.
Complexity of work
Despite the prospect of high earnings, work on the extraction of this unique material is difficult and has a large number of risks. Mammoth tusks can be mined only in summer. Based on the fact that with each year their reserves are reduced, time and effort to search goes more and more. Sometimes it is necessary to do the hardest work, actually cutting down the found exhibit, while its size and quality greatly affect the realizable value.
Not every trip of prospectors is crowned with success, therefore, there is no need to talk about permanent earnings. A serious problem is that such mining is illegal, therefore, in addition to the difficult living conditions in the forest, the prospectors need to hide from the police. But the ability to earn up to one hundred thousand dollars on a team forces many to take risks.
The largest mammoths died out about ten thousand years ago, dwarf - about three and a half thousand years ago. Therefore, tusks are the most valuable material from which various souvenirs and art objects are made. In addition, this material is often combined with others. For example, knives are made this way. Unique and beautiful handles are created from the mammoth's tusk, and the blade can be made of Damascus steel. Such a souvenir can be a reliable companion for lovers of fishing, hunting and hiking. The cost of such a product is quite high and not everyone can afford. The material is valued not only for its rarity, but also for its strength, reliability and ability to persist for many years.
Despite the fact that the turnover of the overwhelming number of products, like the source material, is carried out on the black market, some people find ways to get them out of the shadows. After paperwork the price of such items rises even higher. It is impossible to state unconditionally that any product has a significant cost and it is easy to find a buyer for it. The quality of the source material and the uniqueness of the work, the name of the master and the age of the product are the main, but far from complete, list of pricing criteria for each work.
You can buy products in stores that specialize in luxury and expensive gifts, in antique shops, at auctions. But in order to see live works made of tusk, it is not necessary to buy them, some museums have similar items in their collections that are on display for everyone to see.