Vegetable Ivory is a fascinating product that comes from the Tagua nut. Tagua nuts come from the Tagua or Ivory Palm which grows in southern Panama along the Andes to Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru.
Tagua nuts grow in clusters and when fresh, are edible, due to their soft texture. In fact, many suggest that Tagua tastes similar to coconut.
Once the soft fruit is removed from the cluster, the seed are dried in the sun.
This hardens the seeds making them suitable for bead and pendant making. The buttons below demonstrate the creamy white color and texture of Tagua once prepared, illustrating why Tagua got it’s vegetable ivory name, since it resembles elephant ivory.
Colors can be added to seeds making these Tagua vibrant shades of blue, green, or any other color the artisan chooses, although not all dyes are created equal. For us at Nature Beads, we use dyes that won’t come off on skin, or when wet. This sets our vegetable ivory apart from many of our competitors whose dyes fade out quickly.
This amazing substance is not only good for your accessory wardrobe, but is also good for the environment. Vegetable ivory mimics elephant ivory in appearance but without the animal cruelty that accompanies killing elephants in the name of fashion. In fact, vegetable ivory can even be carved like elephant ivory. In addition, vegetable ivory or Tagua is environmentally friendly and ecologically sound since Tagua grows wild on Ivory Palms, and is completely renewable.
Thus, Tagua provides a completely natural jewelry component for the cutting edge fashionista without harming any animals in the process, making Tagua an excellent choice for natural jewelry aficionados who care deeply about environmental issues such as protection of endangered animals, and the use of renewable resources. Furthermore, Tagua harvesting is a source of industry for the many of the indigenous people of South America, providing a source of income for many families.
With all these reasons why Tagua or Vegetable Ivory is a smart ecological choice, not to mention a smart fashion choice, it’s easy to see why vegetable ivory is the new black.