One of nature’s very useful materials, horn (whether from ox, buffalo, stag, ram or bison) has historically been utilized in a number of applications. As seen here, it’s a material particularly suited to spoons. A true connoisseur of caviar and soft-boiled egg eating will tell you, nothing taints the flavor like metal, and horn offers an unrivalled purity of taste.

Horn spoon

Polished horn spoon.

It is a renewable resource,  relatively easy to carve, and a good polishing results in a glassy luster. In addition to carving, the gelatin present in animal horns softens up when heated, allowing for it to be flattened and separated into sheets that can be formed into whatever shape necessary.

Cow horn

Cow horn

Technically speaking, it’s the sulfur in egg white and in caviar that tarnish the metal and change the taste. Mother of pearl has actually the same quality as horn, and is therefore also used for fine spoons. Horn (and mother of pearl) spoons are also used by homeopathic pharmacists to measure and administer medicine because metal can sometimes effect the potency of the substances.

Over time, horn slowly loses its natural oils and therefore requires a bit of maintenance, an occasional rub with oil. The range of patterns and colors from horns is remarkable. A set of six spoons from one horn will result in six very different spoons.


  1. Posted January 27, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

    do they make horn forks as well?

  2. sophiekieran
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

    sophiekieran likes this

  3. inka
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

    I love my horn spoon to eat my boiled egg for breakfast. It is comfortable in your hand, stylish and taste neutral. Not very cheap, but worth buying it. However, I never saw a horn fork.

  4. 3oaks
    Posted January 28, 2010 at 3:05 AM | Permalink

    Before the invention of plastics, horn was often used as such. Nowadays, horn is mainly used to produce buttons, combs, spoons, knife-handles and Jewellery. Unfortunately, often immitated by cheaper plastics or, like for combs and buttons, functional almost displaced. What a great pity!

  5. Posted January 28, 2010 at 5:58 AM | Permalink

    Michael – There are horn forks and knives. I read that they are recommended for people with a nickel allergy or a heavy metal contamination (or those scared of getting a heavy metal contamination from silver or stainless steel). That said, the egg lovers of the world have worked over time to catapult the spoon to horn celebrity status.

  6. Tom Marshall
    Posted November 14, 2011 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    Horn is indeed a material with interesting properties and uses.

    I must protest however, at the example of homeopathic practice as evidence for these properties.

    Whilst it is interesting that homeopaths use horn spoons because they believe that metal spoons would alter the effectiveness of their remedies, it does not constitute proof that horn is a less reactive material.

    Homeopathic remedies have been clinically shown to be no more effective than placebo. Homeopathic remedies consists of no more than water and sugar, reliant upon an apparent property of water to 'remember' substances once diluted in it.

    This property has never been observed. Indeed, if it were, the water would be able to recall the myriad of metal atoms that had once been diluted in it during it's long existence on the Earth. In which case it wouldn't matter if the spoon was made of metal or not.

    Essentially, I ask that you make a distinction between what is fact, and what is not.

  7. joel samuel
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

    i am a manufacturer of all kind of horn items…..i love to make the spoons

    trendy & stylish joel samuel

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