Click for more products.
No produts were found.
Blog navigation

Latest posts

From Nature to Art: What is the tagua nut or vegetable ivory?

73212 Views 223 Liked

Have you thought about all the resources that nature offers us with which we can create art and fashion accessories? Maybe you know some materials with these characteristics, such as wood or stones, however there is a very special material called Tagua, known as "vegetal ivory" for its appearance and properties, which is an excellent option to create jewelry and at the same time avoid the extraction of animal ivory from elephants and rhinos that causes illegal hunting of these endangered species.

The Tagua is a unique plant that comes from the tropical and humid mountains of Ecuador, grows wild in forests called Taguales, is white, hard, heavy, smooth and opaque but shiny when polished; It is odorless and tasteless but not elastic or incorruptible like real ivory.

Similar in its morphology to palm trees, it takes 14 to 15 years from its planting until the first fruits can be harvested and production is not interrupted in its lifetime. These Taguales offer approximately 3 crops per year, in these crops 15 to 16 heads are produced, also known as mococha. In each mococha we can get approximately 20 Tagua seeds to make handmade jewelry.

From the collection point, a detailed process is carried out to convert each of the Tagua seeds into beads. Once they're ready we start with the classification of each bead to create the handmade jewelry. Depending on the design of the jewel to be created, the pieces to be used are selected; For example, on a necklace an average of 20 to 25 pieces are used.

The use of Tagua beads increases interest in this plant and benefits the tropical rainforest. In addition, due to the non-biodegradable nature of most plastics, we would combat the increasing contamination, since some of these plastics take up to 150 years to degrade. It also allows the inhabitants of rural areas to make the collection of natural ivory an economic source and ecological activity (without cutting down trees since the seed falls on its own), revaluing and promoting its conservation.

I'd like to take this opportunity to let you people know what the real process to manufacture the wonderful tagua beads is... Shall begin!?

The Beginning of a beautiful piece or work, eco ivory Tagua:



After the tagua seeds are collected we need to dry them. We can use 2 options. 1st option: sun-drying which takes approximately 60 days and is more desirable since it gives a better quality nut. 2nd option is to place the nuts in a dryer. This accelerates the process and it takes about a week. Quality is very good also, but sunlight is better.


Using a peeling machine or a machete knife, we remove the skin of the tagua nuts. To remove any excess is used a small knife.


Nut Selection

The next step is to sort the seeds by size using sieves with different sized holes. This is very important to offer a wide variety of seed beads sizes.


Then we use a saw-machine to cut the seeds into slices.



Slice selection

The slices are selected according to size. It should be noted that only the outer slices of the tagua are used for animelas (blank) manufacturing or also called tagua disks.


We drill the chosen slices obtaining tagua blanks and eyelets.


Blanks selection

Blanks are chosen according to two types: rustic and standards. Standards can be divided into 5 levels from 1st white, 1st light cream, cream, second and third. These blanks are used for making beads but most of all are used for making buttons, which are the designer's choice to use with clothing.

Shaping beads

Tagua is very versatile and almost everything is used to make beads for jewerly making. Seeds, slices and blanks are transformed into bead crafts using an automatic machine, however many beads are handmade.



Quality Control 1

Once we have shaped the beads, we proceed to reject the parts showing defects and that do not meet quality standards. This process is manual, due to the many shapes and sizes we produce.


To correct any sign of tools usage we place tagua beads into drum barrels filled with water and small ceramic parts and let it shake for a while. We then rinse and dry the beads.



To give the required color beads have to hydrate for a period of 12 hours and then shade is given using dyes and water. Once dyeing is completed, the beads are left to dry. We polish beads once dried. We use dyes toxic free on our premium beads, 100% guarantee!

Polishing and Brightness

After beads are completely dried, we place then into another drum barrel with small pieces of wood in order to give the finish customers want (polished, semi-gloss, matte, double finish).



Quality Control 2 - Color Selection

Before the beads are packed must pass through the color sorting machine to guarantee the uniformity of tone in the seed beads colors.

Quality Control 3 - Imperfections Selection

This quality control is done manually, where trained personal rejects any bead that does not meet our high quality standards. Any bead that presents imperfections such as cracks, color variations, breaks, or even the tiniest one will be rejected.


Product Packaging

Finally tagua beads are packed for distribution and marketing in differente beads store jewelry, bead shops, and so on, to then be transformed into beautiful artisan jewelry such as bracelets, earrings, necklaces and all kind of beaded artwork you can ever dream of.

Product Stock Room

Finally tagua beads are packed for distribution and marketing in differente beads store jewelry, bead shops, and so on, to then be transformed into beautiful artisan jewelry such as bracelets, earrings, necklaces and all kind of beaded artwork you can ever dream of.



Finished Product

Finally tagua beads are packed for distribution and marketing in different beads store jewelry, bead shops, and so on, to then be transformed into beautiful artisan jewelry such as bracelets, earrings, necklaces and all kind of beaded artwork you can ever dream of.

Other uses: The benefits obtained from the Tagua plant are multiple, almost all of its parts are used without cutting down the tree:

  • The roots are medicinal.
  • The dried leaves serve to roof houses.
  • The seeds are used for the manufacture of buttons, natural jewelry and other crafts.
  • The eyelets are used to make bricks.
  • The dust that results from the eyelets when mixed with other components serves as food for cattle.
  • The Tagua is currently being investigated for chemical or pharmaceutical fields.
  • The seed of Tagua is used to make handmade pipes.

With the constant ecological damage caused by the predation of African elephant ivory, we want to raise awareness among buyers and beaders of the immense humanitarian value of replacing animal ivory with plant ivory, so we could avoid the predation of elephants and rhinos.

Was this blog post helpful to you?

Leave a comment


  • Comprar para hacer bisutería de tagua
    By: Pierina Pulley On 01/20/2023

    A donde se puede uno comunicar vivo en salinas en que parte de la costa uno puede ver las piedras de tagua

    Replied by: EcuadorianHands On 02/13/2023 hola, todas las ordenes se hacen en linea,

  • Información de precios y catàlogo.
    By: Xavier Grijalva On 07/26/2020

    Buenas tardes por favor me pueden enviar catálogo de productos y precios a mi correo.

    Replied by: Jean Carlos Chávez On 08/17/2020 Hola Xavier, puedes ver nuestro catalogo de joyas de tagua y abalorios en el siguiente link

  • Cuentas de tagua
    By: Rick Reyes On 06/22/2020

    Estimado Srs.

    Queria saber si están aceptando pedidos de monento.


    Replied by: Jean Carlos Chávez On 07/06/2020 Hola, si estamos aceptando pedidos, puedes adquirir tus productos de tagua en el siguiente enlace:
    Abalorios de TAgua

    Joyas de tagua