As the fresh spring air enters the windows and the rays of the sun warm up our studio I am giddy for summer to arrive and feeling the need to bury my boring winter wardrobe and accessories. I am now in major need of some colour and cheer!!
Staring at the multitude of stones and various beads, contemplating what kind of jewelry to design for the summer- Tagua’s seem to capture the most of my attention. With their unconventional shape and amazingly vibrant colours they seem the perfect fit for my need of whimsy and fun!
The Tagua nut or as it is also known, vegetable ivory, is actually a seed from a South American Tagua palm. The Tagua palm produces large fruits called Mococha’s, which hold pockets containing the content of an immature fruit. At immaturity the fruit is in liquid form but as it matures the fruit hardens and the result is of a nut of similar colour and hardness to natural ivory. The Tagua nut can then be dyed and worked to produce wonderful artisanal creations.
A great renewable resource, the Tagua palm can be used in many different ways. The roots have medicinal properties, the leaves can be used to thatch houses, its stems can be used for flooring, and its nuts are used to create many everyday items such as buttons, needles, jewelry, and other handicrafts.
Although very popular and commonly used in South America, Tagua’s are just starting to emerge onto the scene here in North America. Although I’d love for this amazing nut to remain our secret gem, I also want to be able to share its uniqueness with others so that everyone can take part in a bit of Tagua madness : ) -Chris