Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tortoiseshell: Modern Vintage

Tortoiseshell or tortoise shell is a material produced mainly from the shell of the hawksbill turtle, an endangered species. It was widely used until the 1970s in the manufacture of items such as combssunglassesguitar picks and knitting needles. In 1973, the trade of tortoiseshell worldwide was banned under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
Tortoiseshell was attractive to manufacturers and consumers because of its beautiful appearance and its durability, and its organic warmth against the skin. It was used in guitar picks because it can be easily shaped, has excellent bending properties, and is very durable – tortoiseshell picks could sometimes be used for years. Piqué-work, jewelry made from tortoiseshell inlaid with precious metals in patterns or pictures, was made during the Victorian Era and was highly prized.
Since the 1973 ban on tortoiseshell commerce, replacements have been developed. The synthetic Delrin has been used especially for guitar picks.
I am loving the new tortoiseshell seen on everything from cell phone cases, playing cards, jewelry, scarves and more! The home accessories market has some gorgeous items. And Pinterst! Oh Boy! LOVE!

Patti Friday, Photojourno, reporting from inside 'The Art Dept.' at the international 'Embassy of Ideas'.

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