raw tagua nut seed

Throughout the globe, ivory is considered to be the most beautiful material –perfect for the use of making jewellery. It’s gorgeously white colour is only marred by the fact that it came at the expense of an elephant. That is one of the major reasons why hunting for ivory has been banned throughout the globe; it has resulted in the mass killing of various species of elephants in particular. However, Tagua, also known as ‘vegetable ivory’, is an alternative that is much friendlier.

Extracted from a tree, it gives you the same look as actual ivory as well as the same function. You can shape it, mould it, colour it or break it apart however you like. This is exactly what makes it the perfect material for the creation of the unique looking jewellery that we sell. Before we get to reasons why you should wear Tagua jewellery, let’s look at where it is sourced from. 

Where does Tagua come from?

whole tagu seeds

Deep in the forests of Ecuador, an Ivory Palm tree grows tall and sturdy. This Phytelephas plant is considered to be endangered due to the fact that it only grows in South American regions. This tree has little pod containing the Tagua seed. As the tree grows in height and width, the Tagua seed keeps up as well -often growing to a size of 6 centimetres. Throughout the course of time, these seeds ripen and are ready to be harvested.

Once they have been picked, they are subjected to a process of drying which is dependent on the weather –the hotter it is, the quicker they will dry and vice versa. More often than not, it will take a few days for the seed to completely dry out and become hard enough to be shaped. Other times it may even take up to several months if the humidity does not die down. One thing that you may notice, however, is that every Tagua seed that has been dried has a beauty of its own.

The end result will be a seed that exhibits the same features of ivory –colour, texture, density and overall look. The uncanny resemblance is what has given Tagua its name of ‘vegetable ivory.’ It’s a safer alternative that does not threaten to wipe out an entire species of living animals. Just like with any other resource, people often wonder about the extent of exploitation that exists in order to accumulate large amounts. Rest assured, not only is the process of picking extremely easy and convenient but it also does not harm the growth or existence of the trees in any manner.

Additionally, even the commercialization of the Tagua seed is bound to help individuals who extract it because then, they are less likely to sell away their land in the rainforest to industries. What some people don’t know is that Tagua seeds were initially used as buttons. However, they were more expensive than their plastic counterparts which ultimately led to a decline in their use. Now, this natural product is used for making various types of jewellery.

Why should you wear Tagua Jewellery?

tagu jewellery

There is a plethora of reasons why you should prefer wearing Tagua jewellery over everything else, let's discuss them below.

1. Tagua is unique

One of the best features of Tagua jewellery is that it is very unique –you are not likely to find anything like it. You can choose a style that has retained the natural ivory colour of the Tagua seed or you can opt for one that has been vibrantly coloured –a process easy to do when using Tagua seeds. Additionally, they also have a distinguishing line that runs through the middle of the seed. All these features make it one of the most beautiful accessory items you will have the option of wearing.

2. Tagua is diverse

Tagua jewellery comprises of rings, earrings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets, keyrings and even anklets. The fact that it can be moulded into any size or shape is what allows for it to have such diverse usage. If you cannot find a source close to you, check out the options we have up for sale. Its use is not just limited to jewellery however; various skilled wood craftsmen used Tagua seeds to add fine details to their carved wood furniture.

3. Tagua is environmentally friendly

As mentioned above, the use of Tagua seeds instead of ivory would help save various species of elephants and rhinos since they will not be hunted for their ivory tusks or horns. These seeds can also be replenished; all people have to do is wait for them to grow up so that the seeds can ripen and they will have a steady supply. Plus, the growing popularity of Tagua seeds would only encourage the growth of trees as a whole which is a benefit for the entire world.

4. Tagua is affordable and natural

One of the last reasons why you should be wearing Tagua jewellery is because it is one of the most affordable options that give you a uniquely gorgeous look. Choose from the diverse and vibrant colour range and wear a jewellery item that is completely natural and rustic. Check out our collection and get an item for yourself. Personally, we love Tagua seeds.

That is why we have dedicated an entire section on Tagua Jewellery because we want their natural beauty to be shown off. Additionally, we believe that anything which relieves pressure from the environment is something that needs to be endorsed. Thus, opt for their, smooth and scratch resistant feel so that your jewellery pops and lasts long. According to various internet sources, Tagua seeds are also edible –rumoured to taste like coconut. However, eating them is an act that we would not recommend, not when you can display their exquisiteness through jewellery.

How to make jewellery with Tagua Seeds?

How to make jewellery with Tagua Seeds?

To make jewellery with tagua seeds, you will of course need some tagua seeds. You should make sure that you buy Tagua seeds from a reputable seller to ensure that they are of a high quality and are dyed naturally. We sell Tagua seeds and they come as a 250g pack or in a netted 2kg bag. These seeds are perfect for making jewellery simply because they are natural and are colourful. Because of processing, each seed has two holes which makes it that much easier to start right away and get making earrings with wire.

When it comes to turning a Tagua seed into a pendant for necklaces, you will need to drill a hole directly through one. Whilst it is possible that they will split or crack during the drilling process. There are some precautions that you can take to ensure that this doesn’t happen. 

  • Use the correct drill bit, we recommend a wood drilling bit.
  • Start with a thin drill bit and go up in sizes slowly if necessary.
  • Drill slowly with a stopping and starting technique.

Once you have a hole in your Tagua seed, you can then remove the metal clam by twisting it from the necklace carefully using pliers. Insert the Tagua seed and then put the clam back on by twisting it back the other way. This is a simple way to make necklaces especially if you wanted to make necklaces or bracelets without the pre-fitted components yourself from a cotton waxed cord or from a type of metal wire.

The process will be similar to make any other jewellery. However, you will need to go ahead and predrill those holes in each seed. Then you can add your components to the piece and finish it as normal. As each seed is a different size, you may be better off with a large quantity so that you can hand-select the perfect ones for your project.

How to make a necklace with Tagua Seeds (Video)

Most popular Tagua nut products

1. Tagua butterfly keyring

tagua seed butterfly design keyring

These butterflies are so stunning, and will really help you distinguish quickly which key is yours!


2. Tagua seeds

tagua nut seeds (250g)


Perfect for learning to count with children, or arts and craft: such as making your own jewellery! 

3. Tagua pebbles bracelet

pebbles tagua bracelet

Stunning, rainbow colored tagua bracelet. A true fashion item, that you will simply fall in love with. Many colors available! 

4. Tagua Chunky Bracelet

Tagua Seed Chunky Barrel Bracelet

Chunky, and assorted. We have blue and red hues, as well as a rainbow multicoloured design that is loved by all! 

5. Tagua Nut Earrings

Tagua Nut Earrings

When we first added these lovely earrings to our collection, upon seeing them I decided to get more. Sadie doesn't go out without her special earrings on! Each pair is naturally wonderful!

Up next: What is raffia?


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