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Adolf Bertele Tegernseer Goldschmiede

Our Tips for Your Trophies

You are not quite sure how to get the canines out of the maxilla anymore? Or how to protect claws from ugly fissures? Then, you are in the right place.

Here we share our 130 years of experience in dealing with the smaller precious hunting trophies.

Deer Ivory — Grandel

A deer’s ivory is always located in the front par of the maxilla (upper jaw). You best remove them by pulling up the lips and, then, using a sharp knife cut into the bone just above the root of the tooth. Gently but forcefully push down to extract the ivory.
Another method is pulling the tooth using pliers. Be careful not to break or scratch the ivory, though. So, best is to use pincers with a plastic wrapping.

After extraction the ivory should be cleaned thoroughly and the periosteum (bone skin) ought to be removed using a sharp knife. Make sure, to preserve brown lines on the teeth.

Then, using wood glue attach the roots to each other.

The more beautiful and dark the pattern on the ivory the more popular the teeth. However, strongly eroded teeth from very old animals are also very desirable.

Runt Antlers — Roe Bucks

Starting at the base of the antlers cut the skin and remove it from the skull. If you only want to use each antler separately cut them of with a saw. Make sure to leave plenty of space to the base of the rose in order to make setting them easier later on.

Now, changing water often, water the antlers until the liquid remains clear. Then, cook them in water with some detergent. If you want the “roses” to remain dark, make sure they are above the water’s surface.
Once the antlers have had plenty of time to dry they are ready for their setting.

Heart Crosses / Ossa Cordis — Ibexes, Buffalo, And, Sometimes, in Red Deer

The Ossa cordis are ossified parts of the ventricular walls of the heart and often have roughly the shape of a cross. They are always found in pairs.

If you have found them (which may prove a challenge all on its own) carefully extract them with a sharp knife and remove as much tissue as possible already.
Afterwards soak them carefully in 60ºC solution of water and detergent. Then, bleach them shortly using cotton wool soaked with 3% Peroxide-Solution (H2O2) — not too long to avoid corroding the material.
Now, ideally dry them in the sun.

It is, by the way, worth to coat the heart crosses with instant glue.
Be careful when handling them — ossa cordis easily break.

Chamois Horns

After removing the skin and mandible, cook the cranium in a water-detergent solution — not too hot, only about 60 ºC — and make sure that the base of the horns is below the surface as to make removal easier.

After about twenty minutes try to twist the horns away from the skull and pull them off. The edges of the horns are soft and delicate at this point. So, be careful in handling them.

Remove any remains of periosteum and other tissue from the inside of the horns.
Brush of the outside and, then, leave the finished horns to dry at room temperature.

Beards — Boar, Badger, Deer and Chamois

Pluck the beard immediately before gralloching the animal.

The boar’s beard consists of the long hairs on the back or the ridge of the winter-fur.
The easiest way to do it is to prepare a newspaper page. Pluck out the hairs pulling from head toward tail. After combing them put them on the page and then fold it. Make sure to put all hairs down in lying in the same direction.
These days it is possible to have the beards bound with a “reif” where the hair follicles point outward.

The shorter but lighter coloured badger beard is also plucked from the back of the animal.

Deer beards come from the from the neck and can be found starting with the rut.

The most popular beard is the Chamois beard. The hair of this goat is the most dense during rut which begins in November. Best pluck the beard immediately after the shot in an area protected from wind.

As an end note: Combing does not have to take place immediately after plucking the hair but can be done at a later point of time. The more important thing is to keep the hairs from breaking. This can be best achieved if you add a small stick next to the beard in the newspaper.

Tusks — Boars

After removing the skin, carefully saw of the jaws. The tusks can only be pulled out back and can be anchored in the jaw to ⅔. So, do not saw them of too short.
Now water the jaws thoroughly — constantly changing the liquid. Then, cook at max. 60 ºC in water-detergent solution.

After cooking you should be able to pull out the tusks backwards (because of their tapered shape they cannot be pulled out in direction of growth). Sometimes it is necessary to open the jaw slightly using a knife.

Now remove the pulp and nerve from the tusks. This can be done with a wire or a fine piece of wood. Cleanse them thoroughly and degrease them using alcohol or benzine. This is necessary to allow the fill to properly bind to the teeth later on.
Rinse again thoroughly and let the tusks dry.
Now because the teeth are hollow on the inside they need to be filled in order to have proper mechanical stability.
So, first roughen up the inside using sandpaper or a file. Then use a strip of tape/film to cuff the end. Fill the tusk with epoxy or silicone (do not use wax — it does not bind to the tusk). After the fill material has dried completely remove the tape/film-cuff.

Sometimes the premolars or the front teeth are also well suited for jewellery — they are commonly called “triangle teeth”.

Canines — Fox, Marten, Badger, Wolf etc.

After skinning and decapitation of the predator there are several ways of extracting the canines.
The gentlest method is maceration (decay). After watering the skull is sealed into a plastic bag until the canines loosen themselves. Through the bag you can check the progress by wiggling the teeth. However, this method is quite odorous.

Another method is to saw of the maxilla and mandible and to then water them until the canines are loosened enough to be easily pulled free.

Yet another possibility is to water the skull and then cook it at 60 ºC in a water-detergent solution. The water should at no point be close to boiling because the teeth are rather delicate and tend to break and fissure at higher temperatures. After cooking you should be able to easily pull the canines.

Clean them thoroughly, removing the periosteum with a tooth-brush. If you want you can further bleach the teeth using a peroxide solution. Rinse afterwards.

To prevent fissuring we recommend lacquering the teeth with a clear non-gloss lacquer or to soak them in linseed oil. The latter, however, tends to give them a slight transparency.


After skinning shorten the toes at the third joint. Then water them and boil them at 60 ºC until you are able to pull out the claws.

Using a scalpel or a very sharp knife the claws are hollowed and prepared. Be mindful of the edges that have become soft and susceptible to tearing due to the cooking process. Rinse well and let the claws dry.

Best attach the last toe-bone to the claw again — this makes setting them easier.

Do not bleach the claws. To prevent them from drying our and/or fissuring clear-lacquer them.

“Boand’l” (Penis bones) — Fox, Martel, Badger, etc.

Males have yet another trophy: The penis bone, called “Boandl” in Bavaria used to be a symbol of fertility.

After skinning the bone may be removed from the penis using a scalpel or very sharp knife.
Cook the extracted bone in a water-detergent solution. Use cotton wool soaked in peroxide-solution to shortly bleach the bone. Rinse and, if possible, let dry in the sun.

Rodent Chisels

They are extracted the same way that canines are removed.
Afterwards, remove the pulp from the teeth.
Do not bleach chisels as the colouring is part of the charm this trophy has.

Because rodent chisels are hollow inside we recommend to fill them — for example with epoxy. To do that first degrease them with either alcohol or benzene and then fill with epoxy.


Snipes, pheasants, and partridges have their trophy-feathers as the first small feather on the hand-wing or, in case of the snipe, have it as thumb-feather on the front edge of the wing.

Snipes in addition have a so called snipe-beard: A bushel of feathers on the preen gland. After quilling we recommend to put a drop of glue on the snipe-beard to make sure it retains its shape.

On drakes the curled rump feathers are prized as trophies.

The blue cover-feathers on the wing of the eurasian jay are also very popular for jewellery.

The blackcock’s tail is also a popular trophy. It consists of what we call a large game (4 black sickle-shaped feathers) and a small game (snow-white cover feathers).
The small hand-feather of the blackcock may sometimes be called blackcock-grandel.

Gastroliths or Gizzard Stones

As the name suggests gizzard stones are found in the stomach of certain species of chicken. There they serve to grind the bird’s food. Usually they are small, round, and polished quartz in a variety of colours.

Gastroliths are trophies of capercailzies and blackgame. Once taken from the stomach they are washed thoroughly before they can be used for jewellery.