From elegant tea caddies and canes, to grand sideboards and mirrors, tortoiseshell has been utilized to create some of the most beautiful works of decorative art for centuries. Due to the difficulty in working the material and the extreme expense in acquiring it, it was reserved for only the most important pieces.
This rare and exquisite material is mainly produced from the shell of the hawksbill sea turtle. The large size and unique, unevenly distributed shades of orange, brown, and black make the hawksbill’s shell especially suitable for these beautiful crafts. Early European artisans sought out shell material despite its expensive price because it was easily molded by heat unlike other similar, ductile materials.
The final product would be a flexible yet durable material with a vibrantly mottled appearance. In our gallery, we have a wide array of tortoiseshell products that are truly amazing in color and form. Come by today and see for yourself!
View M.S. Rau Antiques' current selection of tortoiseshell rarities here.