This includes glue, enamel coatings, paint, or even professional repair. I do not purchase teeth that have been restored or repaired in any way.
A solid root (definition) is extremely important to the appearance and quality of a tooth. I strive to collect teeth with no chips, missing sections, or major cracks in the root. Small expansions cracks are ok, and almost unavoidable. A root with minimal, to no cracking, especially one with nicely preserved nutrient holes (definition) drastically changes the beauty and value of a tooth.
The bourlette on the display/lingual side (definition) is one of the most important attributes to look for. A quality bourlette significantly changes the value and the appeal of a tooth. My goal is have the bourlette be at least 95% present.
Most collectors never look for the bourlette on the flat/labial side (definition) of the tooth, and some don’t even know that it exists. A well preserved bourlette on the flat side is very rare and makes the tooth highly sought after. To me the presence of this increases the value of a tooth.
Serrations (definition) are extremely important to the quality, and really define the overall preservation of the tooth. I strive to get a tooth that only has a few missing serrations at most, but try to get teeth that have none missing at all. Large, sharp serrations make the tooth more desirable as well.
The tip (definition) is the most important serration to be present. The presence of a well preserved tip is extremely important, and makes the tooth have a much higher value.
The enamel (definition) should be glossy with minimal hydration cracking (definition). There should also be limited enamel peel on both the labial and lingual sides. Enamel with a unique color or a mottled (definition) set of colors can greatly increase the beauty and overall value of a tooth.
Every collector has specific attributes about a tooth that make it more appealing to them personally, and therefore things they seek out when buying teeth. And, I am no different. I personally look for a few unique attributes, besides quality, that make a tooth more desirable to me.
None of these unique features preclude the basic premise of quality first, but if I can find an “Almost Perfect” tooth with one, or more, of these unique attributes, it makes the tooth all that more special.
I have adopted this collecting philosophy over time, and my criteria has gotten stricter as my collection has grown. So you will notice that the higher numbered teeth (the ones purchased most recently) are higher quality than the lower numbered teeth (the ones purchase in the beginning). This philosophy obviously restricts the number of teeth one can buy, as there just aren’t that many “Almost Perfect” teeth out there. But, I would rather have fewer “Almost Perfect” teeth, than more, lower quality teeth.
Another goal I have tried to achieve is to collect teeth from different geographies around the globe. So far most of my collection is from the various locations within the US, but a few are from places like Chile and Peru. But, as the collection grows, hopefully so will the number of locations I have collected teeth from.
Please enjoy viewing my fossil shark’s teeth collection and let me know if you have any questions. I welcome any comments.