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Tortoise Shell Eye Glasses


Larry R

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I didn’t know if I should post this in this category or materials. Figured this would be best. Very interesting the process the Japanese use in working the tortoise shell. I posted here because the tortoise is endangered. Although I don’t speak or read any of the Japanese language the process is very interesting to observe and I understand the concept of the file work, heat, steam & pressure used. I’d wondered how natural keratin based structures were worked and this answers a lot of questions.

Don’t know if this has been covered here as I couldn’t find anything.

These are found on Youtube Handicraftsjp. Some very interesting videos!

 

 

Thought it might be of interest to others.

 

Sincerely

Larry

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Hi Larry,

 

That was fascinating! Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I wish that the glasses could have been shown being worn.

 

I had no idea that the YouTube videos could be attached to the posts on this forum. I am a bit concerned that if the forum stores the files that they would push up the storage (and fees) limit. But, I looked at the attachments stats and did not see files for these videos being attached, so maybe they are just linked to the YouTube source/storage where they originate from. Does anyone know how this works?

 

Are tortoises (and thus the shells) protected by CITES? It is such a beautiful material that I could imagine using it, but I thought that long ago the animals became protected, or that the shell was no longer correct for acquiring and using.

 

The use of heat and moisture has been mentioned somewhere here in reference to using horn material, for shaping and bending bits of it to fit other forms, etc. This demonstration was very easy to understand, without language comprehension.

 

Thank you again,

 

Janel

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Hi Janel

 

I too was surprised to see the video attached in this manner. I thought it would just be the URL link. Sorry, if this caused any problem with storage and fee’s. If this in any way causes a problem please feel free to navigate it with any means you feel necessary.

 

The term tortoise shell or tortoiseshell refers to the shell of the Hawksbill marine turtle and other marine turtles and is not really a tortoise at all. I believe they are an endangered species and the sale and trade of these beautiful animals is covered under CITES.

 

The material is very beautiful but I was more interested in the process and being able to look over the craftsman shoulder is even better. He made it look so effortless. Amazing what years experience can do. Beautiful material and craftsmanship!

I have seen references to shaping of horn and other keratin based materials here but wanted more information on processes used. I’m wondering what type of material (ie: Steel, iron, copper) the plates used for flattening are made of. They appear to have a patina. Anyone have any ideas?

 

Sincerely

 

Larry

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Larry,

I was given quite a bit of tortoise shell when I first started doing my craft in the late seventies. I never used it as I'd likely get hasseled if I tried to sell it on the market. After watching the videos it made me think, rather than have it just sit here until I die off perhaps I should do something with it. If I do I'll post it here for all to see.

 

Thanks for putting the videos on the forum.

 

All my best ...... Danny

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Hey Danny

 

I know what you mean. I had a complete shell (26" long) that I acquired many years ago. Alas it was sold in a garage sale unbeknown to me. It would have been great to see what could be made with it. Only for personal use. It is a beautiful material!

 

Sincerely

Larry

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Hi Larry,

 

It is my guess that if you only posted the link (http:// . . . ) that might work like a photo posted that way, with no storage issue. The only problem with photos, and I would assume the videos, if anything changes in the url for the specific file, then the link is broken and the item is no longer available to the forum for viewing. That is true for any link posted, and is the nature of the internet beast. I'll consider the videos as not being a storage problem unless it is physically attached and uploaded. Uploading to the forum storage I would strongly discourage, since I am paying all of the fees to keep the forum going, and last late winter we went over MB limit and I had to make other arrangements for where the forum files are stored, or face a doubling of fees.

 

Thank you for pointing out the species and its relationship to CITES. I agree with you about watching over the shoulder of the artists/craftsman while working. I have always imagined being able to watch as other work, and have never had it happen. The video's are the great answer to these desires that we all have for learning from others.

 

Thank you for helping us to learn!

 

Janel

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, this is so interesting!! I've always wanted a pair of handmade glasses.

Tortise shell is so beautiful. It's too bad the poor tortises are endangered =( But I suppose that material that is already harvested should be used to make something lovely and useful, to honor the tortises who provided it =)

I agree that the craftsman in the video makes it look SO effortless!

Thanks for posting this!

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  • 2 months later...

Just to point out:

 

Since 1994, Japan is not allowed to import tortoise shells. It legal to sell tortoise shell items in Japan from what I've read.

 

There is quite a lot of stockpiled tortoise shell and re-purposed tortoise shell as well.

 

I've been on the lookout for antique tortoise shell items to re-make into things and I have a few pieces.

 

That being said, it is ----> NOT <---- legal to sell or ship these re-purposed items in the EU, US, Canada etc. (Not sure about what they do if they search your pockets...)

 

I will be making tortoise shell items for friends and myself from the antique material I've gotten.

 

Any new item made from Elephant Ivory or Tortoise shell material from antique sources is STILL illegal to sell and is treated as a brand new item in terms of CITES violations.

 

So, if you make a new item from antique material, you cannot sell it, ship it out of your country (Or state, in terms of the US) or carry it out of your country without violating the law.

 

While I think it's a bit heavy-handed to not allow the sale or shipping of re-purposed antique material, I DO understand that it's basically impossible for the authorities to tell whether an item is made from antique (Pre-ban) material or was made from an illegally taken animal.

 

Also, this is not legal advice :)

 

I just wanted to share what I've researched with the forum in regards to this material.

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