Tagua nut, also know as vegetable ivory, is the seed of a tree similar to a palm. Tagua grows in the tropical rainforests of some South American countries, mainly Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, but Ecuador is the country that fulfills most of the world’s demand. The cellular structure and grain is similar to that of elephant or animal ivory, but is more dense and flexible.
Many pieces of jewelry and other items are carved from the Tagua nut. The nuts used to carve are in the foreground. There may be hundreds of nuts in the large pod in the background.