Do you have ivory keys?
Here are 4 clues that the keytops on your piano may be real ivory!
First, there is a very different look and feel to ivory keys. Plastics are very smooth and shiny whereas ivory has a texture and usually fine lines in them. See the little curved lines and veins and swirls in these keytops in this picture? These ivories pictured are in fantastic shape!
Second, Ivory is more brittle, and it cracks and chips easier than plastic, leaving sharp edges. So if you are seeing these in your keytops, good chance they may be ivory.
Third, if you have an older piano made in the early 1900s, there is a good chance it may have ivory keys. The American piano industry switched to plastic keytops in the mid-1950s, but ivory was put on most pianos before 1930.
Fourth, If you look closely at the keys, in most cases you can see a tiny line that is the joint between the wide part of the key and the narrow part that goes between the sharps, which also indicates they are made of ivory.
Still not sure if your keytops are ivory? Send us a picture at Duncan@TheGildedPiano.com and we’ll take a look for you!
Can you repair Ivory?
If there is a minor chip or your keytop or it has come unglued-we can repair that for you! If you have more than 4-6 chipped ivory keys on your piano, we suggest replacing them with plastics. It ends up being about the same price to replace a whole set of white keytops versus repairing several chipped ivories and the plastics are much more durable.