Narwhals are medium sized whales, about 15 – 25 feet long, that live in the Artic Oceans near Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The males have one long tusk, or occasionaly two, that protrudes from the top jaw and looks like a horn on the forehead. They have been called the “Unicorns of the Sea.” Narwhals are not an endangered species and native Inuit tribes harvest about 500 of these creatures each year for traditional use. Due to their current population of about 75,000 worldwide, Narwhals are considered “near threatened” by international standards. It is illegal to export the tusks from Canada to the United States, and until 2013 I had never seen any Narwhal Tusk for sale. For the tusk to be legal in the states, it had to have been here prior to 1972 when the marine mammal protection laws went into effect, and must have paperwork to prove its purchase date prior to 1972. For Amber Moon to legally display and sell this material, we obtained a copy of the certified paperwork proving the legal provenance of our tusk from US Fish and Game Department. I now have carvings made from this unique material available on this website and at my shows. As far as I know, we are the only artists making jewelry carvings from Narwhal Tusk. Each carving comes with CITES paperwork to authenticate its legality. It is a valuable material, on par with many of my more expensive ambers, and very limited in quantity. As I have only seen it for sale once in my 25 plus years of carving, it is doubtful I’ll be able to acquire more. When it’s gone, it’s gone. AS OF SEPTEMBER 14,2014, YOU WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE US WITH THIS MATERIAL. IT MAY BE CONFISCATED ON YOUR WAY BACK INTO THE STATES. Paperwork is available from the US government but needs to be obtained for each piece of jewelry, and takes several months to get. The best choice is to LEAVE IT HOME!
The Narwhal tusk is a long spiral tooth with a hole all the way down the center. The outside is coarser in grain and has spiral cracks running down the length of it. The inside is creamy white with the occasional stress crack that I must either stabilize or remove. As with many of the natural materials I use, its shape and consistency provide challenging parameters to work within. The more I carve it, the more ways I learn to use it to show its beauty to its fullest potential.