The colourful and unique designs of Pretty Pink Eco-Jewellery come from a material that is neither a vegetable nor ivory, but you wouldn't know it by its name. Vegetable Ivory, or Tagua, is the dried seed from a large, fruited palm tree that is native to Brazil and the tropical rainforests of South America.
It can take forty years for these trees to produce their fruit, making the seeds inside them all the more precious. Each fruit contains between four and nine seeds ranging from the size of an olive to an avocado. The seed's cavity contains a refreshing liquid that, if harvested within six months, turns to a sweet, edible liquid. If left, however, this jelly turns into a hard, white substance similar to that of elephant tusks or animal teeth.
Precious as these seeds are, at Pretty Pink Eco-Jewellery, our ecosystem comes first. That's why the first crop of fruit is left for the "curicas", the birds of the Amazon rainforest. Only after two years is the fruit collected by hand from the forest floor.
Once collected, the seeds are removed from their husks and left to dry in the sun for about three months. Only then is Vegetable Ivory hard enough to be carved, sliced and drilled - much like real ivory - and capable of holding the colourful dyes that make our jewellery so unique. Unlike real ivory, however, Vegetable Ivory is a renewable resource that does not harm our animals or our planet when harvested.
At Pretty Pink Eco-Jewellery, we believe in taking care of our planet and our people. Recent research from Brazil found that the cultivation and harvesting of Vegetable Ivory within the Greater Amazonia region prevents loggers from chopping down trees to plant soya for biofuels - and keeps some 35,000 people gainfully employed.