2007 - Volume #31, Issue #1, Page #22[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Wildlife Jewelry Popular With Hunters
According to jeweler and goldsmith John Jack Mely, the company does brisk business in custom made, hand-carved "elk's tooth" and bear's claw or bear's tooth items.
"We've done well with promoting wildlife jewelry in outdoorsman magazines all over the U.S. and in Canada," Mely says. "Hunters usually supply their own animal teeth or claws from their hard-earned trophies. We work with them to design the setting they want. Our work is so unusual that they've really caught on."
According to Mely, the two back, bottom teeth in an elk's mouth are actually ivory and although they are continually growing, they're kept ground down by use.
Besides being referred to as "elk ivories," these teeth are also called whistlers or buglers. Each animal's are a unique size, shape and color, and because they're soft, they can be carved.
"We shave off the top several millimeters and shape them slightly, then fabricate the gold setting," Mely explains. "Every piece of elk jewelry that Park Diamond makes is hand-carved, with a simple design that ensures attention is drawn to the beautiful ivory. We can create any type of men's or women's elk jewelry, from a two-toned ring, in which the elk head is hand-carved in white gold and placed in a setting of yellow gold, to tie tacks, money clips, pendants, earrings, etc. The possibilities are endless."
Bear's tooth or claw pendants are cleaned, polished, gold capped and hung on a chain.
"They're beautiful when we're finished with them, Crystal Mely says.
She adds that people from all over the continent mail animal teeth or claws to them, along with their finger size or design requests, and the company calls them back with an estimate. Once the item is made and paid for, it can be mailed back to them.
"We've been making quite a few elk's tooth rings for women û we just scale the design down a little and make a smaller version for the gals," Mely says.
In the event that someone wants one of these natural pieces of jewelry but isn't a hunter or doesn't have access to the animal ivories, Park Diamond can obtain them from a local taxidermy shop for an added cost of $25 to $60.
Depending on the finger size and ivory size, custom made, hand carved elk's tooth rings cost between $800 and $1200. Earrings range from $350 to $450 per pair. Pendants of various sizes run between $300 and $550.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Park Diamond, Rice Lake Plaza, 13764 83rd Way, Maple Grove, Minn. 55369 (ph 763 416-1371; fax 763 416-1471, parkdiamond @earthlink.net; www.park-diamond.com).
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