Tagua nut is a nut from a palm tree obtained from South American Rainforest loved not only by vegan people but fashionistas around the globe. Often called vegetable ivory because it resembles animal ivory.
This palm tree grows in the tropical mountains, it needs a lot of rain to grow and produce the fruit “mococha” which contains the Tagua nut in clusters.
One tree is able to produce yearly the same amount of ivory nut an elephant does during its lifetime which is why this vegan alternative could be able to save the lives of African elephants hunted a cause of their tusks.
This tree only grows in 3 tropical countries: Panama, Ecuador and Colombia and requires between 15-20 years to produce the first crops.
After collected from the trees the tagua nuts are hardened or exposed to the sun for 6 months. They are then carefully dyed in organic dyes. After dyed, the nut is again exposed to the sun for 1 week to 2 weeks.
After dried the artisan uses sealers to hold the color before carving and polishing the nut so it can be used to make jewellery like these keychains made by Mayoso Handcrafts in London, Ontario.