Tagua (also known as vegetable ivory) is a natural, sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to animal ivory that is made into truly unique and beautiful creations including jewelry. The production of tagua jewelry and other items provides income for local artisans and creates jobs that support responsible forest management and conservation.
The nuts come from of the Phytelephas palm tree, which grows deep in the tropical rainforests of Ecuador and other parts of South America. The trees produce large armoured pods containing many nuts. Before the nuts mature they contain a milky liquid. When ripe, the nuts fall to the ground and are gathered and dried for several weeks, becoming extremely hard.
The tagua nut has a naturally white, fine marbled grain structure. The rough brown skin of the nut is often removed but sometimes left as a design element. Vegetable dye is used to produce vibrant colour and enhances the texture.
Polished tagua is very hard and durable, but it is sensitive to water. Prolonged exposure to water or sun may cause it to fade or crack. Tagua can be polished by hand with natural waxes (beeswax works well for this) and buffed to a shine. Generally this only needs to be done once a year at most, and can make the piece look brand new.
Our resin-dipped tagua jewelry has a glossy finish and is more resistant to water and sunlight.