The wonderful coconut shell
The coconut is a sustainable material. Special machinery is used to stamp discs out of the coconut shell. The beading is then left natural or bleached (this enables the colour to take better). The beading is simply dyed with a standard jewellery dye for wood jewellery. Once dry, the beading is lacquered, to help seal the colour. Again a standard jewellery varnish is used.
The unique vegetable ivory
The tagua nut or vegetable ivory nut comes from a palm like tree called Phytelephas Macrocarpa Palmae or Phytelephas Equatorialis. The tree grows to a height of 20 to 40 feet tall in several tropical rainforest regions in South America.
The tagua nuts are the size of hens eggs and grow in large pods called a cabeza which take a number of years to grow and ripen. When the cabeza ripens, it falls to the ground. Before the nut matures it has a milky sweet liquid in the center with a jelly like consistency and can be eaten.
The tagua nuts are gathered and dried for a number of weeks after which they become very hard and have the look and texture of ivory, hence the name vegetable ivory. The nut is then carved to make stunning and individual beads.
The Acai Berry (pronounced A-sigh-ee) is a small, purple fruit which grows towards the top of the acai palm trees in the Amazon rain forest in Brazil and is incredibly nutritious and rich in antioxidants. The berry is actually only 10% edible. The remaining 90% of seeds are not eaten. When the berry is consumed, only the pulp is eaten. The hard berry husk or seed that remains is then usually discarded. However, the seeds are recycled, dried and dyed different colours to make fabulous seed beads. How cool is that!