Tagua nut, also know as vegetable ivory, is the fruit of a tree similar to a palm but botanically not belonging to the palmaceus but to the ciclantaceus. Its scientific name is Phytelephas Aequatorialis Macrocarpa.
Tagua grows in the tropical rainforests of some South American countries, mainly Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. Its fruit is almost egg shaped having a brown exterior. It takes approximately 15 years to produce its first harvest and will not stop bearing fruit for all of the years and even a century to come.The plant is about 6 feet tall. Its roots are said to contain medicinal properties while the leafs are used for hut roofing and serve as a mix in cattle feed due to its high content of energy.
Due to tagua’s properties in color, appearance, hardness and feel similar to those of natural ivory it is being substituted for the latter one. This helps in the depredation of elephants while at the same time keeps rainforests from being deforested which in turn favors the ecosystems and the environment.
Another important factor to consider is that it provides work to thousands of people in South American countries giving them and their families a better life and the opportunity of offering their children a better education.Colombian jewelrs have mastered the work of the tagua through skillful processes like slicing, dying,carving and even stitching them together obtaining as a result jewelry of brilliant colours and stunning beauty.