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Definition: Is ivory black really made from elephant tusks? Happily the answer is no. Traditionally, ivory black was made from scraps of real ivory, and gave a beautiful fine pigment. Obviously, this is no longer an ethical choice - we need to do everything we can to protect elephants from poachers.

Contemporary Ivory Black, or Pigment Black 9, is an inorganic synthetic pigment made from charred bones. This is the least pure form of carbon black, containing a high percentage of calcium phosphate. Perhaps because of these impurities, it offers a softer, even slightly 'grey' black, a favorite with many artists.

Is Ivory black suitable for vegans? No, because it is made from the bones of animals. A better choice would be a Pure Carbon Black or Lamp Black. Occasionally manufacturers use these terms interchangeably, so it's worthwhile to check their website for the specific origin of the pigment.

Also Known As: bone black, carbon black, noir de carbone
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