Did you know that when you wear one of our ethically sourced pieces of jewellery, you are wearing a gift from nature that started life decades ago and continues to provide inhabitants of South America a sustainable income today?
Our jewellery starts life thousands of miles away in the tropical rainforests of South America. The tagua nut is a dried seed from a large fruit palm tree. It can take up to 40 years for these trees to produce fruit, making the tagua nut a precious resource locally. The fruit contains a sweet liquid which can be drunk if harvested within 6 months, but if left on the forest floor, it turns into a hard white substance similar to the consistancy of ivory.
Out of respect for the delicate eco-system, Pretty in Pink co-operatives in South America leave the first harvest on the forest floor for the birds. Only nuts which have been on the ground for 2 years are collected and it is done by hand to cause the least disturbance to vegetation and wildlife. Back at the workshop, the seed is removed from the husk and left to dry in the sun for about 3 months. After that, it’s ready for a new life!
Members of our co-operatives drill, carve and slice the nuts by hand before adding bright dye. Lush tropical foliage, and the plumage of the birds who had first ‘pick’ of the nut, are the inspiration for our jewellery colours.
Recent research from Brazil found that the cultivation and harvesting of the tagua nut prevents loggers from cutting trees to plant soya for biofuels. This humble but mighty nut keeps 35,000 people employed in the Greater Amazonia region. It’s a success story in sourcing natural products and we’re proud to be part of it.
Once the coloured tagua beads (also known as vegetable ivory) reach Pretty Pink Jewellery in Scotland, we craft them into quality jewellery by adding Japanese silk cord to create pendants, and sterling silver hooks to create earrings.
As well as tagua, we also use seeds from the Açaí tree in our jewellery. Like vegetable ivory, the fruit is sourced in a sustainable and eco-friendly way and cultivation and harvesting provides work to thousands of local people.
How to Style Vegetable Ivory Jewellery for Spring/Summer 2021
We think you’ll agree that our jewellery looks best when worn with natural fabrics, such as cotton, silk, linen and wool. For inspiration, we’ve used the latest fabulous collection from ethical clothing brand TOAST to showcase our Spring Collection.