As a raw material, ivory has been used to manufacture a wide range of objects, normally associated with sumptuous material culture. In this article we explore the role played by ivory and ivory artefacts among early complex societies, and particularly its importance in the definition of identities among emergent elites. To this end, we make a thorough examination of the evidence from Copper Age Iberia, focusing on the mega-site of Valencina, in southern Spain. This site has provided what to date is the largest assemblage of prehistoric ivory in western Europe, with an estimated total of 8.8 kg, including finely crafted artefacts of unrivalled beauty and sophistication. Our study looks carefully at the technological, morphological and contextual dimensions of Copper Age ivory. As a result, we contend that the broad morphological variability together with the technological uniformity of this assemblage suggest that, while belonging to a common technological tradition, objects were deliberately crafted as unique and unrepeatable so that they could be used to create and maintain socio-cultural idiosyncrasies and ideological legitimation.