An Introduction to Intaglia

Intaglia is a lost art from 13th century China, reserved under death penalty for only the Royalty. In antiquity Jade, Elephant Ivory and Gold were the standards. Today I use Fossil Mammoth Ivory, from Alaska, Canada or Siberia, Ebony from Africa and Gemstones from Around the world.


The first step in to Flatten a large piece of Mammoth Ivory and decide on a design. In this case I chose a long narrow piece of 30,000 year old Fossil mammoth Ivory as a base because the design I wanted to make was based around a darker piece of mammoth Ivory,

The next step would be setting the design pieces and making sure they were all completely flat and square. The objective here is to have no visible fault lines or gaps in any surface. This is all done with magnification, and at the time I was working with less than 15% eye sight do to sever cataracts in both eyes.

This is the piece of Mammoth Ivory I chose to work with. What a challenge. I have no idea the true color, but I was hoping for some blues. Finding a solid piece was the second challenge.

Ahhh maybe.

I split it apart but there were no guarantees.

Not what I was expecting but it will work.

I pick two pieces of white Mammoth Ivory and a piece of Ebony to be the focal area. I than add two pieces of the darker mammoth ivory for the upper and lower regions, but before I add them, I will pin the white mammoth ivory and the ebony together. They will also be pinned through the back plate with either stainless-steel pins of ivory of the same color.

at this point the two end pieces are added and the finished shape is decided.

Almost done. 

The finished product. 

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