Ivory Laws

A frequent misconception is that all ivory is "illegal". We carry certain types of elephant and mammoth ivory that are legal to buy and sell.


The international sale of wildlife and plants is regulated by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (C.I.T.E.S.) [a multinational protege of the United Nations]. Formed in 1973, the aim is to establish worldwide controls over plants & wildlife that require protecting due to declining populations. Headquartered in Switzerland, C.I.T.E.S., delegates meet every two years to review data & set new quotas to increase, decrease or maintain the level of protection on individual species. C.I.T.E.S. regulations do not control a country's internal commerce, only the international trade between member nations.

Elephant ivory is NOT exportable. Mammoth ivory can be exported and does not require a permit.


Within the United States, the sale of wildlife product is regulated on a state and federal level. Interstate (between states) commerce of wildlife products is regulated by the U. S. Endangered Species Act of 1972 by the Dept. of the Interior/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service & by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 administered by National Marine Fisheries Service. We will give a review of Federal wildlife law in the following paragraphs. Unfortunately we do not have the space to review individual state wildlife laws. Each state has a Department of Fish & Wildlife or Game Department.

We recommend that you check with your state game officials before buying wildlife products for resale (private ownership is not restricted). To find out about your state's wildlife laws, call your local state Fish & Game Dept.- Law Enforcement Division and ask for written documentation.

Due to new rules, as of July 6, 2016, elephant ivory can no longer be sold and shipped in interstate commerce. This means we can only sell and ship products containing elephant ivory within Massachusetts. Mammoth ivory is not effected by these rules and can still be sold and shipped within the US, without a permit.


African Elephant: On the C.I.T.E.S. Endangered Species List. Importing, buying, and selling of African elephant ivory is not allowed internationally. It cannot be imported into or exported out of the U.S. or practically any other country of the world. It is legal to own, buy, sell or ship within the United States and there are no permits or registration requirements (those were required for importation into the U.S.).

The raw elephant ivory we are selling now is all old "estate" ivory which was legally imported years ago.

Asian Elephant: On the U.S. & C.I.T.E.S. Endangered Species List. Importing, buying, and selling of Asian elephant ivory is not allowed internationally or interstate within the U.S.

Mammoth or Mastodon: Extinct animals with different looking tusks, however the cut ivory can look nearly the same. Commerce in this 10,000-40,000 year old ivory is completely unrestricted. A great deal of this ivory in cut form looks practically identical to elephant ivory (except for the outer layer where all the color and weathering is). Our friends at U.S. Fish & Wildlife Forensics Laboratory have discovered a reliable indicator for differentiating between prehistoric mammoth and modern elephant ivory. Color is no indication; it is the angle that the cross grain lines bisect themselves. Angles of less than 90% indicate that it's mammoth/mastodon, angles greater than 120% show that it's elephant. This information is now being shared with customs and wildlife agents around the world so that mammoth ivory will clear customs inspections and not be subject to seizures or delays.


If you are interested in joining the IIS (International Ivory Society) visit http://www.internationalivorysociety.com/ and sign up. Its free to join, and you'll stay up to date on all the latest ivory law changes, news articles, and updates!


We at DELS take great care in ensuring and documenting that our products contain only old "estate" (aka "pre-ban") ivory from sources such as antique piano keys. This not only guarantees legality but also ensures we are not contributing to the poaching of elephants. Every ivory product we sell includes a certificate of legality of this precious resource. Below are links to both our certification letter that declares our Ivory products conform to current law, and a collection of paperwork that documents the ivory and where it came from.