“The first time I was exposed to Tagua was at a fair at Fairchild Gardens in Miami. A booth was exhibiting a variety of products made from Tagua, namely buttons and small carved ornaments. The markings on the nut intrigued me and I began thinking of how I could utilize this sustainable product in my collection.” – FØRSSBERG
Also known as “vegetable ivory”, Tagua is produced by a palm-like tree that grows in tropical regions of South America. When mature, the nuts fall to the ground, thus harvesting does not damage the trees and can be done in a sustainable manner. After harvesting and drying the nuts, they become very hard and are then ready for carving.
Albeit Tagua has been carved for more than 200 years, it has gained recent notoriety because it resembles the finest ivory yet has none of the destructive characteristics of harvesting real ivory. Tagua is not cultivated, but grows wild in the rainforest, helping these communities support themselves and provides employment for the harvesters and skilled artisans. The income derived from harvesting Tagua encourages these communities to preserve the rainforest and thus help the world’s environment.