by Amalia Wragg
We talk a lot about sustainability and plastic free living and this can conjure up images of bathrooms filled with bamboo toothbrushes and beautiful glass jars. But do you ever think about the sustainability of your jewellery? It feels like in the past there have been two extremes on jewellery. Expensive gold and silver lifetime pieces. Or cheap trinkets picked up at the counter when checking out at Next or Accessorize… But there is a new wave of jewellery hitting our streets (and our skin!). And it is ethical and sustainable. Jewellery which IS designed to last a lifetime but is NOT designed for special occasions alone. Jewellery which has an ethical production process and literally does not cost the earth. And jewellery which can actually benefit the land it comes from – not that’s something we can all be proud to wear!
Introducing TAGUA! A beautiful and sustainable jewellery material
Amalia from Pretty Pink Eco Jewellery – which makes beautiful, colourful and long lasting necklaces, bracelets, brooches and earrings – tells us all about this key material from which they create their pieces.
So tell us about sustainable jewellery.
At Pretty Pink Eco-Jewellery all our products are made from ethically and sustainably sourced tagua nuts widely known as “vegetable ivory”.
What is Vegetable Ivory?
1. It is actually a seed. It is a product made from the very hard white endosperm of the seeds of certain palm trees. Vegetable Ivory is also known as jarina, corozo, tagua.
2. It is named for its resemblance to animal ivory.
3. Vegetable Ivory is native to South America. It grows in Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil.
4. It is the dried seedpod from the large fruited Ivory Palm (Phytelephas Macrocarpa – literally “elephant plant”)
5. A tagua palm can grow up to 10 meters in height and can take 40 years to produce its fruit. This is contained in a large cluster or husk which appears just below the leaves.
6. Each fruit has 4-9 seeds and ranges in size from an olive to an avocado.
7. The seeds cavity contains a refreshing liquid which turns to a sweet edible jelly if harvested within six months. If left however, this jelly turns to a hard white substance similar to ivory. The longer the fruit is left, the harder it becomes.
8. In one year the Ivory Palm produces 20 pounds of vegetable ivory,. That is the same amount an elephant produces in a lifetime.
9. Tagua seeds are harvested straight from the forest floor and left to dry in the sun for about three months.
10. Every nut is completely unique. That is why none of our jewellery is identical.
Tell us more about the brand behind the jewellery.
At Pretty Pink Eco Jewellery we thought long and hard about how to make a positive impact with our ethical jewellery business aside from just the materials. And so we donate 10% of our profits to our “A Helping Hand Project”. This is where we give back to our supply chain – mainly in Colombia. Here many of the very skillful artisans are finding it hard to make ends meet.
Pretty Pink Eco-Jewellery was founded in 2005 by Ilana Ewing. Ilana began bringing artistically crafted seeds from her native Brazil to the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland. Her blend of raw materials, colours and textures were created with respect, responsibility and heart. In 2018, Ilana partnered with a fellow Edinburgh resident and Brazil native Amália Wragg. Together they create colourful, attractive and happy pieces that allow the women to showcase their roots around Europe.
Would you like to know more about the processes used to make our jewellery? Leave a comment below and we’d be happy to answer!
Have a browse of our jewellery and find something truely unique at our shop
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Thanks for reading!
Keen to keep the sustainable mindset when online shopping? Have a browse of our brand directory and find something that could well last you a lifetime.