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Tagua From Colombia

Tagua is the name of a palm tree that grows in the tropical forests of Colombia, generally in the mountains. It first bears seeds when it is about 15 years old. The tree grows to about fifteen or twenty feet in height. The tree yields nuts about the size of a golf ball. It takes from 6 to 12 months for these seeds or nuts to mature. At that point the material is sort of a whitish opaque color. It is very dense and very hard.

Since the Colonial times in Colombia, the use of tagua to make jewelry and other articles has exploded. Because of the demand for this natural product, the value has been increasing. The first use for tagua many years ago was to make buttons. Since then tagua has been utilized to produce a variety of products. Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and Versace were some of the first to popularize the use of natural materials in their wardrobe. Because of the natural beauty of tagua, it was a natural choice for these companies.

The best artists who work with tagua, live in a small town 3 hours from Bogata in the Andes Mountains. Colombians are the primary producers of artesanias in tagua. There is no limit as to what can be made of tagua. The products are limited by size because they can't be large; because the tagua nut is small. Tagua now is utilized to produce earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. Tagua can also be found in Ecuador and Brazil. Many of the products made of tagua in Ecuador can be found in and around Quito, where there are small villages of Indians,

I traveled throughout Colombia and in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador looking for artesanias made of tagua. I was fortunate enough to have found some villages that produced many products made from tagua. In the process I purchased earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. I was captured by their natural beauty, and I decided to import them to the United States.