Do you have an old billiard cue ball that looks like it might be made of ivory? If so, you may want to find out for sure. Ivory is a valuable material and can be worth quite a bit of money if it’s authentic.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to tell if your cue ball is actually made from ivory or not. In this article, we’ll discuss the various methods you can use to determine whether your cue ball is indeed ivory or not.
We’ll go over what features make up real ivory, how to check for them on your own cue ball, as well as other tips and tricks that will help in the process. So let’s get started and learn how to tell if a cue ball is really ivory!
Why are billiard balls made of ivory?
Ivory is a material used for billiard balls. It’s made from elephant tusks. This natural substance is durable, hard, and attractive. Moreover, its color makes it a good choice.
In the 19th century, billiards was popular. Wood was the original material, but it was unreliable. As a result, manufacturers began to experiment with other materials. Eventually, they settled on plastic. Plastic was an excellent alternative to ivory.
However, billiards was an expensive activity. It was only available to the rich. Also, a player’s control over the cue ball was difficult.
To improve the quality of their balls, manufacturers needed to find a replacement. They were afraid of the dwindling ivory supply. Several “plastic” materials were developed, including celluloid and Parkesine.
Although celluloid was the first mass-market synthetic plastic, it didn’t win a major prize. That award went to Phelan, the first major manufacturer of billiards tables.
Celluloid wasn’t a suitable substitute for ivory, as it was too fragile to resist impact. But it was useful for other uses, including lady’s combs, dental plates, and buttons.
How To Test if a Cue Ball is Ivory
When it comes to identifying a cue ball, you’ll want to consider the type of material it is made from. You can find cue balls of all different kinds: wood, plastic, and more. But there is a unique identity to each of these materials.
If you’re wondering how to tell if a cue ball is ivory, there are two easy tests. One is a visual one and the other is a pin test.
First, try examining the ball’s grain. You’ll notice a cross-hatch pattern. This is indicative of the grain in an ivory billiard ball.
It is also possible to find out what material it is by putting it in a blacklight. This can help to exclude artificial materials such as plastic.
In addition, you may also be able to determine if an ivory billiard ball has the best value. You’ll want to know if the ball is well-worn or has a number engraved on it.
The long-wave black light test is an easy way to check for this. While it does not prove that the item is ivory, it does help to make sure that you aren’t purchasing a fake.
Look For Visual Signs
If you are looking for a way to determine whether or not a cue ball is made of ivory, you have a few options. However, it is important to remember that cue balls can be composed of a variety of materials.
There are many different types of cue balls, including plastic, synthetic, and even real ivory. Knowing the material your cue ball is made of can help you identify if it is worth investing in.
One good way to see if a cue ball is ivory is to examine its markings. Depending on the type of ball, you might notice something as simple as a number engraved on the ball.
Alternatively, you might find a number of spider lines running through the ball. Usually, the spider lines are indicative of an ivory ball.
Here are some common signs:
– Schreger lines: these are thin, angular lines that crisscross the surface.
– Number on the cue ball: this indicates an older (pre-1920s) ball made of ivory.
– Yellowing with age: if a ball has been used for a long time and looks yellowed or discolored, it is likely made of ivory.
Finally, you can look for a long-wave black light test. This will show if the cue ball is emitting any fluorescent light. If so, it is likely made of ivory.
Overall, knowing what material your cue ball is made from is important for a variety of reasons. Not only will it help you determine its value, but it can also improve your billiards game. By learning more about the signs and tests for ivory, you can make sure that you are playing with the best quality ball.
Look for Schreger lines
A Schreger line is one of the key characteristics that distinguish ivory from other natural organic materials. These lines are found in mammoth and elephant ivory and are a crucial distinguishing factor in identifying extinct animals.
To determine whether a cue ball is made of ivory, you can examine it for the presence of Schreger lines. The lines can be seen as cross hatches. You can test your cue ball using a long-wave black light. If the item has a genuine ivory, it will appear white under the black light.
While the inner schreger line is easy to spot, the outer schreger lines are much harder to identify. Typically, if the outer schreger lines are 90 degrees or lower, you are dealing with a mammoth, while if the inner schreger lines are higher than 115 degrees, you are dealing with a small elephant.
An old ivory ball will have a dull yellow or brown color. It will also shine when it has patina, as well as a burning smell. This is a good indication that the item is made of real ivory.
Other items that are a good indicator of bone or ivory include tiny notches and tunnels in the bone. Also, the surface of the bone will show signs of marrow, which is similar to the fluorescence of ivory.
Bone, on the other hand, has a different type of fluorescence. When it reacts with a blacklight, it will fluoresce blue. Similarly, artificial ivory will fluoresce blue.
Take A Black Light Test
The easiest way to tell if a cue ball looks authentic is to test it with a black light. This will allow you to see whether or not the ball is made of plastic or acrylic. In addition, it can help you determine if the markings are real.
Before you use the black light, check the markings of the ball. There are three types of markings you can look for. The first is a pattern of cross-hatched lines, called schreger lines. These will be more than 90 degrees, and will indicate elephant’s ivory. This is a hard thing to duplicate.
Another feature you may see is a patina, which can be a brownish color or a dull yellow. You can also find the markings of a number. Some antique balls have numbers engraved on the surface. If you can’t see these markings, the ball is likely not ivory.
If you don’t feel confident in your abilities to identify the markings, you can always ask an expert. Pawn shops and jewelers can also evaluate the object for you.
Perform a Heat Test
Another way to determine if your cue ball is made of ivory is to perform a heat test. To do this, you’ll need to hold the ball over an open flame for about 10 seconds. If the material melts or chars away from the flame easily, then it’s not likely ivory. If it takes longer to melt away from the flame, then it is more likely ivory.
It’s important to remember that this test can damage some types of balls and should not be used for plastic or synthetic materials.
Also, keep in mind that performing the heat test might leave your cue ball with a permanent mark. So if you are looking to preserve its look, you may want to avoid this option.
Is Ivory Cue Ball Illegal?
In some countries, the use of ivory cue balls is illegal. Before purchasing or using an ivory ball, you should make sure that it is legal in your jurisdiction. This will help protect endangered wildlife species and ensure that you are not engaging in any activities that could be considered a violation of the law.
It’s also important to remember that even if a cue ball appears to be made of ivory, it may not actually be authentic. Many manufacturers produce artificial ivory and use pigments or dyes to give it an aged look.
We highly recommended that readers do not use ivory cue balls, as they are a product of animal cruelty and illegal activities. Ivory has long been used in the manufacture of luxury items such as jewelry and sculptures, with the practice of hunting elephants for their tusks being one of the main causes of the endangerment of many species.
Using an ivory cue ball also contributes to the illegal trade in wildlife products and fuels demand for ivory. It is estimated that over 30,000 elephants are poached each year for their tusks, with most of this coming from Africa.
This unsustainable rate of poaching has led to a severe decline in elephant populations across the continent. On top of this, many governments have put in place strict regulations on the sale and possession of ivory products in order to discourage buying them.
Not only is using an ivory cue ball unethical and illegal, but it can also be dangerous. As mentioned before, many artificial ivories have been produced using pigments or dyes to give them an aged look. However, these substances can be toxic when exposed to heat or moisture, which can cause serious harm if inhaled or ingested by players during a game.
In addition to this, some countries have laws that prohibit the use of ivory cue balls entirely due to conservation efforts. Not only is this necessary to protect endangered species like elephants from poaching and extinction, but it also serves as an important reminder that wildlife should not be exploited for our own material gain.
By avoiding the purchase or possession of any type of product made from ivory, we can help reduce demand for these items and discourage wildlife traffickers from profiting off this cruel industry.
Overall, identifying a cue ball made of ivory requires some detective work. You must check the markings and use a black light to properly test it. You can also heat it or ask an expert for help if you are unsure about the authenticity of the item. Once you have identified the ball as being made of ivory, then you can determine whether or not it is worth investing in.