Can you guess what this little turtle ornament is made from? If you guessed tagua nuts, then you’re correct! Artisans in Ecuador take tagua nuts like the ones the turtle is swimming on and carve them into fun and festive ornaments and figurines. They come in all different animal shapes and they are all super cute!
Tagua nuts, also known as “vegetable ivory,” come from palm trees that grow in the rain forests in South America. They are called vegetable ivory because they have the texture and appearance of ivory. Tagua nuts are brown on the outside and white on the inside. Unlike ivory that comes from animal tusks, tagua nuts are sustainable and do not harm the environment – it is a natural material that grows in abundance in Ecuador.
Check out these cool photos of the process of transforming a plain tagua nut into a beautiful ornament. All the work is done by hand or using simple tools. Each ornament has an impressive amount of detail. They even make specific species of animals – below is the Hawksbill Turtle.
These ornaments are of course perfect for Christmas time, and make excellent gifts for animal lovers, but you could hang them around the house anytime of the year! The marine ones are great for beach houses, and there are a ton of bird designs for bird lovers. Anyone with a passion for nature will love these sustainable tagua nut ornaments.
Watch the artisans in action: