Obviously, the term ‘ivory’ comes laden with guilt. We all know it, and we must absolutely shy away from every modern ivory. There are great alternatives, like casein (Galalith, see below), or Elforyn Juma. And then there is the ivory from the tusks of mammoths. Long extinct, and known for their massive tusks, the mammoth ivory is nature’s alternative. Nature knows best. What a magnificent and enigmatic material.
This material known as Galalith is an original era manufacture of a synthetic plastic material produced by the interaction of casein (a milk protein) and formaldehyde. Invented in 1893 and first commercially produced in 1900, its trade name is derived from the Greek words gala (milk) and lithos (stone). It is odourless, insoluble in water, biodegradable, non-allergenic, antistatic and virtually nonflammable. Talk about environmentally friendly and sustainable. It also is a joy to work with and polishes up to a lovely transparent deep sheen. What’s not to like? And, true to its heritage and composition, Galalith’s tone is slightly mellower and rounded than that produced by its more recent brethren Kirinite, Juma, and epoxy, but offers great clarity and definition.