TAGUA NUT (VEGETABLE IVORY)
The vegetable ivory palm or tagua palm belongs to the genus Phytelephas (from the Greek words “phytas” (plant) and “elephas” (elephant)). It grows to a height of 20 to 30 feet in several tropical regions of northwestern South America, mainly Colombia, Ecuador, Peru & Panamá. The main use of this palm resides on the very hard white endosperm of their seeds (tagua nuts), which resembles elephant ivory.
These seeds (known as vegetable ivory, palm ivory,corozo or tagua) come in a fruit that carries several of them. When ripe the fruit breaks apart and falls to the ground; at this point they are gathered and the nuts are taken for drying for about four to six months after which they become extremely hard. Once dry, tagua can be polished to a bright shine cream color finish very similar to elephant ivory. In average they are the size of a walnut and can be dyed & carved.
Responsible tagua use and trade fosters important environmental and socioeconomic goals by stimulating the local economies and microenterprises in South America. It provides a good alternative to cutting down rainforests for farming and also prevents elephant hunting and killing for their ivory. Thus, tagua can serve a dual function: helping to save the rare and diverse rainforest environment, and assisting with elephant conservation.
All of our unique eco jewelry pieces are 100% organic & sustainable making them naturally beautiful. Most of the artisans involved in the manufacturing by hand of our designs are women head of families and all of them earn fair wages in a humane workplace that provides safe and healthy working conditions located in Bogotá, Colombia.