Tagua: A Tropical Rainforest Treasure

With a commitment to promoting fair trade products for sustainability, AlterNatives Boutique features products such as the Two-Tone Tagua Necklace, which utilizes local Tagua seeds to create a vibrant, adjustable necklace. The artisans harvest the seeds and dry them under the heat of the sun, and then cut, sand, dye, and polish the seeds by hand to create the beads of this statement necklace. 

Tagua jewelry plays an instrumental role in the environmental movement against using ivory from elephants. While some poach elephants to obtain the prized ivory found in their tusks, Tagua offers an alternative. Tagua, sometimes referred to as the “vegetable ivory,” is a seed from tropical rainforests that features an ivory color and effectively absorbs color. It’s natural state gives each piece of jewelry a unique twist through varying sizes and shapes to make each piece special in its own way. Through sustainable and safe harvesting practices of Tagua seeds, this piece of Tagua jewelry preserves natural rainforests.

However, Tagua does more than offer a sustainable alternative that protects our wildlife: it serves as an economic livelihood for many female artisans. Fair trade Tagua jewelry offers artisans a fair wage for their work and empowers women, while allowing them to preserve the culture and traditions of their communities.

The Two-Tone Tagua Necklace is sourced by AlterNatives Boutique from Serrv International, which has had long-term relationships with Ecuador’s artisans since 1981. This company’s outreach has changed the lives of over 500 artisans and producers through financial training and encouraging the preservation of traditional artistic techniques. Servv International operates under fair trade conditions by offering artisans far wages and maintaining safe working conditions, and provides initiative funds that go towards community development projects as well. By preventing child labor, encouraging producers’ children to attend school, and funding healthcare initiatives, Servv supports not only the artisans, but their entire family to cultivate stronger future generations too. These efforts combat the poverty and wealth inequality that disproportionately burden the lives of indigenous and rural communities. 

Purchasing Tagua jewelry serves numerous causes, from improving the lives of South American communities, preserving traditions that represent important aspects of culture, to protecting elephants from poaching.

Written by Daphne Pang