All of our jewelry is handmade by female artisans.
#Corozo. Tagua. What do these two names have in common? Well, they’re the same thing and can be known as Vegetable Ivory #vegetableivory. The Tagua nut grows on trees that are found along the streams of the Amazon between Ecuador and Peru. The #tagua tree grows melon-sized fruits that house the nuts within them. One tree produces 15 fruits, each fruit producing upto 30 nuts. That means each tree can result in 20-50 lbs. of vegetable ivory. Once the nuts are harvested from the forest floor, they are air dried for 2 months and placed in kilns to prepare for carving and decoration.
The #Taguanut gained popularity in Europe in the mid-1800’s when trade with South America was flourishing. Soon many artisans across Europe and South America were captivated by the luxurious nature of this simple nut. By 1920, export of the Tagua nut was bringing in millions to the South American economy. They were also used during World War One to make 216 million buttons for army shirts. Not to mention, before plastic, the Tagua nut made up 20% of all buttons produced in the United States. The Tagua nut made a comeback in the eighties when various clothing companies began featuring sustainable buttons as part of their lines.
However, the Tagua nut is most beneficial in more ways than just bolstering the economy. One Tague tree can produce as much vegetable ivory than what comes from a single elephant tusk. An elephant is killed every 15 minutes by poachers looking to sell their #ivory tusks on illegal markets. To decrease the ivory market, Tagua nuts provide a safer and more #sustainable alternative. Harvesting tagua nuts has no negative effects on the forest or the plant it grows from and can be considered a renewable resource. Purchasing and sharing Tagua nuts and products provides a viable income for the indigenous peoples of Amazonian rain forests and artisans around the world, reduces the need for deforestations, and moves us one step away from the sale of illegal ivory.
Here at EcoZen, we are purchasing jewelry hand crafted from Tagua nuts to help you receive the luxury of vegetable ivory through safe and sustainable means.
-EcoZen Store LLC