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A hard material from the skeleton of most vertebrate species, but the variety mainly used in jewelry is the compact bone from such animals as the wild boar and wild hog, or the horns of stags. It is used principally for inexpensive jewelry, except when sometimes stained and carved in imitation of ivory. In primitive jewelry it has been carved and used for beads, finger rings, brooches, pins, hair pins, etc.
Carved bones was used for Minoan seals and for beads for rosaries in the Middle Ages in Europe. Examples exist in Anglo-Saxon jewelry in the form of buckles, finger rings and brooches. Bone is slightly heavier than ivory and of about the same hardness; it is readily distinguishable by microscopic examination. Today it is imitated by plastic.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson