I've been thinking about trying to do some out of the box knife handles using different materials. These would be drawer queens but if I could pull it off they could be spectacular.
Tell me I'm crazy and I'll move on to some other obsession. What about Polymer Clay? Look at the designs this guy does by pulling different types of collored clay. It's unvelievable what you can do with this technique. I'm sure handles or ferrules could be made out of this stuff.
Adam, check out giraffe bone . com . They sell all sorts of bones and pieces of bones from Zebra, Giraffe, Wildebeaste, etc and they are dyed and stabilized and much cheaper than most places in the US! I ordered a bunch of stuff from them, very nice pieces! I got smaller pieces of Giraffe bone for spacers for like $5-$10 each piece. Like you, I'm not brave enough for the Mammoth Ivory, Mastadon Tooth, Ox Horn, etc!! I like stabilized burls and the synthetics I make up!