Along the Andes, from southern Panama stretching all the way down through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and northwestern Brazil, tagua palms flourish in rain forest floors. Their seeds have gained the nickname "vegetable ivory," which refers to their hard, shiny texture and white color.
With the near extinction of elephant ivory, tagua nuts find favor among artisans and artists as an eco-friendly, renewable substitute, and in turn stimulate local artisan economies in a sustainable way. Skillful artisans carve tagua nuts into figurines, ornaments, jewelry, and buttons, sometimes adding natural dyes and pigments to make their works colorful.
In a single year, a tagua palm tree can produce up to 20 pounds of nuts. Thanks to the fair wages paid to local tagua carving artisans, tagua trees are now well preserved by nearby communities to produce nuts year after year, instead of being cut down to make land for farming. This sustainable production cycle contributes to rainforest conservation in South America, while alleviating the threat to elephants in Africa from the ivory trade.
Our tagua nut collection consists of animal figurines and ornaments hand craved by Fair Trade artisans in Ecuador. Shop here to add some eco-friendly holiday decorations to your space, and support the good cause of protecting our planet earth.