Anyone who owns an ivory sculpture knows that this material is to be cherished. Just like wood, it can encounter constraints if the climatic conditions are not optimal. Often it is elephant ivory that is used the most. But despite the beauty of the material, it is very subject to physical changes. In any case, it must be well maintained.
To restore an ivory sculpture, you can turn to the traditional method. Indeed, when the sculpture presents a cracked, yellowed, split or incomplete aspect, these are the signs that show that it has suffered from the ravages of time accentuated by poor handling. This does not mean that you cannot rectify the situation. On the contrary, it is possible to restore an ivory sculpture using the traditional method. To do so, you will start by cleaning the whole piece by applying soapy water gently but surely.
After wiping the entire surface with a soft cloth, the next step is to bleach the material. To do this, it will be necessary to apply compresses of pulp. This must be done gently to ensure the effectiveness of this bleaching method. As far as filling the gaps is concerned, you have the choice between re-cutting the ivory, if its shape allows it, or filling the gaps with resin. However, the resin must mimic the color of the carving in order to adhere well to the whole.
The most modern processes
To avoid hazardous handling and deterioration of your statue, it is possible to restore an ivory sculpture by opting for more modern processes. To do so, you will have to apply an epoxy glue to clean and whiten the whole surface. During the process, be very careful not to let any drops of glue get on your sculpture. In this sense, you only have to remove the residues with alcohol. Once this is done you only have to let the sculpture harden at a room temperature of 20°C.
What to do when the repair is impossible?
In some cases, restoring an ivory sculpture cannot be done. To avoid any kind of disappointment, it would be better to call in the experts. They will be able to repair, restore and polish the entire surface of the sculpture in no time. However, they cannot operate without your agreement, as you are the only one who can decide how to restore the ivory statue. In any case, it will be clean and pleasant to look at.